Wanted: Civil Rights Chief, No Experience Necessary

Sunday’s Washington Post reported that Bush’s political appointments in the DOJ’s civil rights division have pushed “out those who did not share the administration’s conservative views on civil rights laws.”

A quick review of the previous Bush administration civil rights chiefs shows why the department has been driven apart.

Ralph Boyd (2001-2003):

“Perversely enough, [Boyd did not have] much, if any, background in civil rights law or practice.” [Detroit Free Press, 1/27/03]

“[C]areer lawyers, congressional sources and civil rights groups have taken issue with the hiring of two conservative operatives as career lawyers and the reassignment of two top career officials in the Employment Litigation Section. Of the two political operatives hired [under Boyd], one…ran the disputed …sharply critical of preferential affirmative action policies.” [Washington Post, 3/15/02]

“His experience in civil rights is very limited.” [The Nation, 7/23/01]

Alexander Acosta (2003-2005):

“In a speech delivered to the City Club of Cleveland in April 2005, Acosta claimed that the civil rights era was over and a better era has begun””construed by some as the end of a proactive civil rights agenda within the Department of Justice.” [Watching Justice, 6/27/05, Speech to The Cleveland City Club, 4/1/05]

So, nominees with little qualification and experience for the job, and an unwillingness to do perform the functions for which you’ve been called upon. Where have we seen that before?