Partisanship v. Professionalism in the Justice Dept.

by TChris

Career lawyers in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division would have moved to block the Texas redistricting plan that provided Republicans with additional House seats in the last election, on the ground that the plan reduced minority voting strength in violation of the Voting Rights Act. A memo reveals that their concerns were overridden by a political appointee who was more concerned with assisting Republicans than enforcing civil rights laws.

Alberto Gonzales yesterday defended that decision-making process as a mere disagreement among professionals. Yet, as Last Night in Little Rock reported here, career professionals in that Division have been bailing out of their Justice Department jobs precisely because their commitment to enforcing civil rights laws is frequently undermined by “disagreement” with appointed officials who put politics first.

The redistricting approval came from Sheldon Bradshaw, an assistant to then-AG John Ashcroft.

Bradshaw, as a member of the Justice Department's legal counsel's office, had been an adviser to the Bush White House in 2001. Then he was appointed to the second-in-command spot in the civil rights division under Alex Acosta, who had helped Bush's 2000 presidential campaign in the Florida vote recount. Bradshaw took command of the Texas redistricting case when Acosta recused himself.

That politics trumped professionalism when Bradshaw made the call is evident.

J. Gerald Hebert, a lawyer who represented Texas Democratic congressmen in the legal battle surrounding redistricting, said the decision was nothing more than a partisan grab for power at the expense of minority voters in Texas. "It's a compelling story about why the Justice Department's process was corrupted," said Hebert.

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  • Re: Partisanship v. Professionalism in the Justice (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:38 PM EST
    Partisanship v. Professionalism in the Justice Dept.
    Gee, what a coincidence; politcal appointees overrule the FDA pros, the EPA pros, the DoJ pros, the CIA pros, the FCC pros, and the NSA pros and the the inspectors general pros of all those agencies.

    Re: Partisanship v. Professionalism in the Justice (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dusty on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:38 PM EST
    Sailor is correct. The EPA part really makes me postal..they are selling our future for a buck,or so their friends can make a buck..our air and ground water to be exact. The Supreme Court has had to slap the bastards on the wrist for removing the teeth of various mandates that protect us and the environment.

    It's not like our government's never had pork projects before. But under Bush and his crew, it's all pork, all the time. The entire idea that public monies are supposed to do something besides line their and their friends' pockets seems to have floated right past them.

    I guess from the post you don't know that the Civil Rights Department at Justice has basically been gutted. Career people have been forced out and replaced with political appointees. Bascially, they have been threatened with reassignment if they didn't go along with the political people (usually to undesirable agencies like INS)and many people left or were forced to retire. These were people that had been there since the Reagan adminstration. Now, Civil Rights does everything accept protect civil rights. I don't know that there is a part of DOJ that has suffered more under this administration.