Rehabilitating Conservatives

by TChris

It's good to see the Bush administration abandoning its "tough on crime, lock 'em up forever" philosophy in favor of an approach that gives criminals the opportunity to reform. Only that apparent change in thinking can explain the decision to make W. Stephen Thayer III the deputy chief of the Transportation Security Administration's Office of National Risk Assessment -- one of the top management positions in the TSA.

Thayer's fast-moving career — U.S. attorney at 35, state supreme court justice at 40 — came to an abrupt halt March 31, 2000, when he resigned from the state's highest court in a deal with New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin.

In return for Thayer's resignation, McLaughlin agreed to drop plans to indict him. In a public report, McLaughlin criticized Thayer for participating in deliberations on a case he had disqualified himself from. He also said he would have sought felony or misdemeanor charges against Thayer for allegedly trying to influence the choice of a judge to hear his wife's appeal of their divorce and threatening fellow justices if they allowed his conduct to be reported to judicial oversight groups.

Thayer's qualifications for the TSA job? He helped the American Conservative Union organize a task force to lobby the government regarding CAPPS II, the disastrous program over which he now presides.

Until now, the Bush administration hasn't been keen on job programs to rehabilitate offenders. It's nice to know the administration has had a change of heart.

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