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‘Amateur Night’ at the Justice Department


NRO readers who have been following the great writing of Andy McCarthy know about the legally questionable and unsound political decisions being made in Eric Holder’s Justice Department. (Former attorney general Michael Mukasey says it is “like amateur night down there.”) From dismissing the New Black Panther voter-intimidation case, to targeting CIA employees for prosecution, to Mirandizing terrorists who kill Americans, the Justice Department is endangering not just the fair and impartial administration of justice but also the lives and safety of American citizens. Officials at the department now arguably want to institutionalize bad lawyering. Justice is advertising for prospective trial attorneys in its Civil Rights Division. The ad specifically says that the department encourages applicants who suffer from “mental retardation” and “mental illness.” It is one thing to accommodate those with illnesses that do not otherwise render them unfit to serve in a highly demanding and elite corps of DOJ attorneys; but to seek out those who are “mentally retarded” for special consideration is certainly novel.

In another interesting development, it seems that nominating radicals such as Louis Butler and Edward Chen to federal judgeships is not enough for the Obama administration. Normally, regardless of whether the incumbent administration is Republican or Democratic, judicial nominees are principally vetted by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. However, Leon Rodriguez, chief of staff to Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, has sent an email to the Civil Rights Division asking for three career attorneys “to work with the Associate’s office in the vetting of federal judicial candidates.” As I have written, the Civil Rights Division is home to some of the most partisan, left-wing career attorneys in the entire government. And now some of those same lawyers are going to be vetting new potential judicial nominees for the president. Whomever they approve will probably make Butler and Chen look like conservatives.


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