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Why Good People Don’t Serve

Hans Von Spakovsky pens an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal recounting his tale of horror as a nominee for the FEC. I and many others have described how he was vilified by the Left and the civil rights lobby (but I repeat myself) for daring to question the orthodoxy–which proved legally unsustainable in multiple court cases–of certain elements of the permanent civil service staff of the Voting Rights Section of the Department of Justice. The fact that all of the legal positions which Spakovsky took–whether on Georgia or Indiana voting ID or the Texas congressional redistricting–were upheld by federal courts means little. The Left extracted its pound of flesh and refused to permit his confirmation for a new position with the FEC.

It is any wonder that qualified, decent people are afraid to submit themselves to the torment–and it is torment–of the confirmation process and accompanying ridicule by groups who lack intellectual honesty, but hold great sway over Senators? We see with Spakovsky it is not just judges but all appointees who suffer in this way. The lesson, I fear, will be that principled individuals will either not serve or will keep their heads down, bite their lip and hope they don’t stir the pot sufficiently to call attention to themselves and thus preclude further advancement in government. (And for conservatives the message is plain: don’t ever serve in a civil rights capacity.) Spakovsky will no doubt enjoy a distinguished career elsewhere, but others may simply say “No way.”  Our loss.


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