Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What are “Good Americans?” according to Schlozman

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From Obsidian Wings:

From the Washington Post, more on the politicization of the Justice Department:

“Karen Stevens, Tovah Calderon and Teresa Kwong had a lot in common. They had good performance ratings as career lawyers in the Justice Department’s civil rights division. And they were minority women transferred out of their jobs two years ago — over the objections of their immediate supervisors — by Bradley Schlozman, then the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.Schlozman ordered supervisors to tell the women that they had performance problems or that the office was overstaffed. But one lawyer, Conor Dugan, told colleagues that the recent Bush appointee had confided that his real motive was to “make room for some good Americans” in that high-impact office, according to four lawyers who said they heard the account from Dugan.

In another politically tinged conversation recounted by former colleagues, Schlozman asked a supervisor if a career lawyer who had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a onetime political rival of President Bush, could still be trusted.

Schlozman has acknowledged in sworn congressional testimony that he had boasted of hiring Republicans and conservatives, but he denied taking improper actions against the division’s career officials. That account was challenged by six officials in the division who said in interviews that they either overhead him making brazen political remarks about career employees or witnessed him making personnel decisions with apparent political motivation. (…)

Schlozman made little effort to hide his personal interest in the political leanings of the staff, according to five lawyers who spoke on the condition of anonymity because — like most of those interviewed for this article — they still work at the department. He and his aides frequently asked appellate supervisors whether career lawyers handling politically sensitive cases were “on our team,” the lawyers said.

Schlozman raised the question of partisan politics bluntly in the fall of 2004, they said, when asking appellate supervisors about the “loyalty” of division lawyer Angela Miller, who had once clerked for David. B. Sentelle, a conservative federal appeals judge. He told Miller’s bosses that he learned that she voted for McCain in the 2004 Republican primary and asked, “Can we still trust her?”

He also warned section chief Diana Flynn that he would be keeping an eye on the legal work of another career lawyer who “didn’t even vote for Bush,” according to colleagues who said they heard Flynn describe the exchange. Miller told several of the colleagues that she considered Schlozman’s remarks a form of intimidation, and started looking for another job, the lawyers said. (…)

“When he said he didn’t engage in political hiring, most of us thought that was just laughable,” said one lawyer in the section, referring to Schlozman’s June 5 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Everything Schlozman did was political. And he said so.””

Remember: Schlozman is a political appointee, but the other people discussed in this article are not. They are career lawyers in the Department of Justice: people who sign on not because they support one administration or another, but because they want to make their careers in the DoJ, serving Democrats and Republicans alike. They are supposed to be neutral, and it is against the law to hire, fire, promote, or transfer them (not an exhaustive list) based on their political affiliation. It’s also incredibly destructive: it really matters that we have a competent Department of Justice whose commitment to the law is unquestioned. George W. Bush inherited such a Department, and his administration has done enormous damage to it.


I also have to remark on Schlozman’s distinction between women of color and “Good Americans”. It reminds me of good old Daryl Gates, LA’s old police commissioner, who said “that blacks might be more likely to die from chokeholds because their arteries do not open as fast as they do on ”normal people.”” As a result, people all over the city started calling LA’s black and white police cars ‘black-and-normals’. Ha ha ha.

So I wonder: what part of being a minority woman disqualifies you from being a “Good American”? Is it being female, or being non-white, or is it something special about the combination of these two things? Is there some extra special degree of double-plus-ungood* UnAmericanness achieved only by non-white lesbian Wiccans who are registered members of the Green Party?

And remember: the person who said this was our acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 June 2007 at 1:20 pm

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