From the "al-Qaeda Seven" to the Radicals in the Voting Rights Divison.

Because smearing attorneys at Justice has paid so many dividends for the folks at Keep America Safe -- earning them a very public rebuke from conservative stalwarts like Ken Starr -- Bush lawyer Hans von Spakovsky has a seven-page screed in National Review arguing that the Obama administration has "radicalized" the Civil Rights Division, naming each of his targets in the division by name. His charge? Obama's Civil Rights Division is racist against white people:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned the protections enshrined in the Constitution and said, “No matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it.” Obama followed this lofty rhetoric with a claim that his Justice Department “has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil-rights violations and employment discrimination.”

As anyone familiar with the Division’s workings can tell you, this assertion is patently false. Obama’s Civil Rights Division will prosecute cases only depending on “what you look like.” If you are white and you are discriminated against in your job, at the polls, or in seeking equal access to federally funded institutions, the Division won’t lift a finger to make sure you’re “protected.”

That's right. Obama's Justice Department hates white people. Von Spakovsky's "evidence" amounts to the DoJ's failure to use a law designed to stop statewide voter suppression campaigns against a couple of foolish people looking scary outside a polling place. That, and the fact that the attorneys running the division now actually have experience working for civil rights organizations.

To say that von Spakovsky is throwing stones in a glass house is beyond understatement, the man is setting off nuclear explosions in a chandelier. During the Bush administration, von Spakovsky was part of a triumvirate of political appointees in the Justice Department, including John Tanner and Civil Rights Division head Bradley Schlozman, that hired attorneys based on political affiliation. Schlozman also didn't want to hire "affirmative action" attorneys who spoke in "ebonics." These three men created a racial environment so hostile to black people that by 2007, they had driven all the black attorneys out of the division. The Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General concluded in a joint report that Schlozman had broken civil service laws with his practices but decided not to charge him.

Von Spakovsky has a track record in voter suppression so long it reads like an encyclopedia. During his tenure at Justice, he tried to "purge" the Voting Rights Section of people who didn't share his political views. He pseudonymously wrote articles supporting voting restrictions that would disproportionately affect black (read: Democratic) voters. He went on a quixotic crusade against virtually nonexistent cases of "voter fraud" to justify implementing "sweeping restrictions that would make it harder, not easier, for Democratic-leaning poor and minority voters to cast ballots." He also reportedly blocked the section from filing suits charging local governments with violating the rights of black voters.

Von Spakovsky also has a personal grudge against Obama for blocking his appointment to the Federal Election Commission when the president was still a senator, based on the pleas of von Spakovsky's former colleagues in the department. This is how they described his attitude:

Finally, Mr. von Spakovsky never appeared to understand that his role as a Department of Justice attorney was to represent the "United States of America." Instead, on several occasions he took actions indicating a stubborn view that the Department represented the Bush Administration, the Republican Party or the Assistant Attorney General.

The record couldn't be more clear: Von Spakovsky and his buddies politicized the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Michael Mukasey and Eric Holder have depoliticized it.

In the IG/OPR report on politicized hiring at Justice during von Spakovsky's tenure, former Voting Section Chief Tanner complained that prior to their being at Justice, you had to be a "civil rights person" to work in the Civil Rights Division. Von Spakovsky is angry that the Civil Rights Division is staffed by civil rights people again.


-- A. Serwer

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