The Washington Post recently published another completely deceitful story about the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and its supposed non-enforcement of federal laws during the Bush administration (“Justice Department to Address Backlog of Civil Rights Complaints,” September 25). I sent a letter to the editors disputing the story — perhaps the Post will surprise me and eventually publish it. I thought Corner readers might be interested in reading what the Post so far has not seen fit to print:
Dear Sir or Madam:
Your story on the Civil Rights Division paints a totally false picture of the enforcement history of the Bush Administration. Rather than print any of the array of facts I provided (all of which were gleaned from my service as a former career lawyer in the Division), your reporter chose to simply regurgitate the wild distortions and gross exaggerations uttered by the liberal civil rights officials whose perspective is totally blinded by their extreme partisanship.
The claim that enforcement of our civil rights laws was “destroyed” is ludicrous. In my area of voting, a simple check (as I suggested to your reporter) of the list of cases available on the Division’s website would have shown that the Bush Administration filed in court or settled 71 enforcement actions to enforce federal voting laws. The Clinton Administration filed a mere 33 cases. One particular example highlights the stark difference: The Clinton Administration filed just seven cases to enforce Section 203, the ballot language minority provision of the Voting Rights Act. The Bush Administration filed 28 cases — more than had been filed in total since the provision was first passed by Congress.
Another difference in the quality of the legal work between the Bush and Clinton Administrations is evidenced by the fact (not unproven allegations that permeate your story) that almost a dozen cases filed by the Clinton Administration (including five voting cases) were declared by federal judges to be “frivolous” or “vexatious.” Not only were these cases thrown out, but over $4.1 million in attorney fees and costs were awarded to the defendants because of the shoddy legal work of the lawyers in the Division. There was not a single such award during the Bush Administration.
Hans A. von Spakovsky
Former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights (2002–2005)