Partisanship v. Professionalism in the Justice Dept.
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.
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