Commentary Magazine


Holder’s Civil-Rights Nominee

The Washington Times editorializes today against the nomination of Thomas Perez to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. There are two compelling reasons to slow or reject the nomination that the op-ed alludes to.

First, this is the only mechanism by which the Senate–that is, Senate Republicans, who aren’t like their Democratic counterparts in the business of providing cover for Eric Holder’s shenanigans–can get to the bottom of the New Black Panther dismissal. Yes, there is an ongoing investigation of the decision to dismiss the default judgment by the Office of Professional Responsibility. But they’ve already demonstrated an appalling lack of independence in delivering to Holder the desired recommendation to reinvestigate CIA employees who career prosecutors found could not be prosecuted. We simply have no confidence that this will be anything but a whitewash. As former Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky explained:

Given the nature of the personnel who populate OPR, there is good reason to doubt that a real investigation will occur. Many of the career lawyers at OPR are as liberal and partisan as the lawyers who work in the Civil Rights Division. The report they issued in conjunction with the inspector general on supposed “political” hiring in the division was chock full of bias, inaccuracies, gross exaggerations, and deliberate misrepresentations of both facts and the law. Not only was the OPR attorney assigned to that investigation a liberal former Civil Rights Division lawyer, but the (now former) head of OPR who orchestrated this agitprop, Marshall Jarrett, was rewarded by Eric Holder when he became attorney general: Jarrett was made head of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, a plum post that usually goes to a political appointee.

[. . .]

So who has the new head of OPR assigned to “investigate” the Civil Rights Division’s improper dismissal of this case? According to the letter she sent over to Congressman Smith, it is a career lawyer named Mary Aubry. Despite her modest government salary, Aubry contributed $3,850 to Obama’s campaign and victory fund, not to mention the $2,500 she has given to the DNC or the $1,000 she gave to Hillary Clinton. So a woman who has given $7,350(!) to the current president and other Democrats is going to be the chief investigator tasked with determining whether the president’s political appointees at Justice (such as Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli) acted unprofessionally when they dismissed this case. Perhaps we will all be pleasantly surprised; but given that politics has driven almost every recent action by Justice, I doubt it.

But there is good reason to oppose Perez apart from the New Black Panther case. He is quite simply a proponent of the same radical agenda of racial quotas and preferences that characterized the civil rights agenda of failed Clinton nominee Lani Guinier (not to mention now Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor–at least before her confirmation hearing conversion). As Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity has explained, Perez as a city councilman took precisely the same stance as the racial preference advocates did in the New Haven firefighter case. Perez found that the low number of nonwhites in the class of fire-and-rescue recruits was “unacceptable” and made every effort (presumably at the expense of white applicants) to “get back up to the original number of minorities in the Department.”

And that’s not all. CONTENTIONS contributor Linda Chavez has explained that Perez also wants quotas for medical schools:

In 2006, Perez wrote a law review article for the University of Maryland’s Journal of Health Care Law and Policy, in which he argued for explicit race-conscious admissions policies for medical school. He cited a handful of studies that purport to show that minority doctors are more likely to provide medical care to under-served poor minority populations than white physicians are. He then leapt to the conclusion that the best way to improve access to medical care for underserved populations was to insist that medical schools use race or ethnicity in choosing which students to admit.

In effect, Perez appears to be arguing for a form of medical apartheid in which minority patients should be served by minority doctors under the presumption that both groups benefit from this practice. The argument is both insulting and dangerous.

It tells us much about Obama and Holder that this is the person they want to lead the Civil Rights Division. The Perez nomination seems to confirm the worst fears that the Obama Justice Department is being packed with those who sport a radical agenda for civil rights. The Senate would do well to conduct an exacting review of Perez’s record and views before deciding if he really is the appropriate person to be charged with enforcing civil rights laws.

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