Last Friday, Rachel Brand, the assistant attorney general in charge of DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy, announced that she would be leaving her position. To anyone who knows Rachel, that news would hardly come as a big surprise. With the exception of a one-year Supreme Court clerkship, she’s toiled tirelessly in the Bush Administration since January 2001, first in the Office of White House Counsel, then in OLP. She became head of OLP in July 2005, just in time for the exhausting work of preparing Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito for their confirmation hearings.
I recall hearing from Rachel a year or so ago that she wasn’t planning to stay in the Administration for the remainder of President Bush’s second term. The timing of her decision to step down was plainly dictated by the fact that she’s due to give birth to her first child in August.
To any reporter with the energy to make an inquiry, it would have become clear that there’s nothing particularly newsworthy about Rachel’s departure. But Reuters, in an article headlined “Seventh official quits Justice Department,” somehow saw fit to link her departure to the U.S. Attorneys brouhaha, as it lazily reported that she became “the seventh official to quit the department since the Democratic-led Congress launched an investigation in March into the firing of nine federal prosecutors.” Ah, quel scandale!