The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, March 30, 2007

Hey, remember me?

There were plenty of stories today talking about all the other BushCo scandals the press never got around to covering:

Think Progress: The Interior Department inspector general reports that a senior Bush political appointee, Julie MacDonald, repeatedly altered scientific field reports “to minimize protections for imperiled species, and disclosed confidential information to private groups seeking to affect policy decisions.”

The New Republic: Nor is there any specific statute mandating that presidents pay heed to government scientists, intelligence analysts, and other in-house wonks. But, before the Bush administration, presidents generally yielded to disinterested expertise. That's to say nothing of Bush's unprecedented mania for secrecy and rampant classification of documents or his exploitation of government agencies to disseminate pro-administration agitprop.

Career lawyers say the new hires [at the DOJ's Civil Rights Division] are increasingly white males with Federalist Society or Christian Legal Society credentials, even though many of them are shocked to find themselves in the Civil Rights Division. Richard Ugelow, a former employment deputy chief who now teaches at American University, says his students who ranked other divisions in the Department of Justice as their preferred choices for placement found themselves called to interview in the Civil Rights Division. One thing about those students' résumés stood out: They were members of the Federalist Society.

What was this newly conservative incarnation of the Civil Rights Division being asked to do? From the beginning, part of the Bush administration's purpose was advancing the Christian right's agenda, and one element of that agenda was the erosion of the wall between church and state. At the same time, in a five-year period beginning in 2001, the division brought no voting cases on behalf of African-Americans and only one employment case on behalf of African-Americans.