The Corner

The Times’ Double Standard

The New York Times’ transparent anti-Bush bias comes shining through today in the hit piece — obnoxiously headlined, “Political Résumé, Not Court, Stood Out for a Contender” on the Justice Department’s Rachel Brand, who was apparently floated, at least by Kyle Sampson (AG Gonzales’s former chief-of-staff), as a potential replacement for the U.S. attorney in the Western District of Michigan.  Here’s correspondent Scott Shane’s opening salvo:

Rachel L. Brand, by her own admission, has never prosecuted so much as a traffic case. But in January 2006, when Justice Department officials began to discuss removing some United States attorneys, Ms. Brand was proposed as the top federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan, an e-mail message released on Friday shows. In the end, Ms. Brand, who heads the Office of Legal Policy in the department, decided that she did not want the position and was not nominated to succeed Margaret M. Chiara, then the top prosecutor for the district. Ms. Chiara was later ousted….  [I]t was notable that Ms. Brand, a 33-year-old cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School, was recommended by D. Kyle Sampson, then chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.  … After time in the White House counsel’s office, Ms. Brand was law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy at the Supreme Court and joined the Justice Department in 2003. Before being confirmed for her current post in 2005, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, she had never been in court as a lawyer, although she had argued two civil motions by phone in private litigation.

I was trying to imagine what the Times would have said if the appointment of Ms. Brand (whom I don’t know) had been floated by a Democratic administration.  Something like this, I imagine:

Democrats and civil rights groups responded with outrage today at suggestions by some Republicans that Rachel L. Brand, who was considered by Justice Department officials as a potential nominee to become the top federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan, was unqualified for that position.  Ms. Brand, who was never actually nominated by the president, is a 33-year-old cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School.  Those stellar academic credentials won Ms. Brand a coveted clerkship on the United States Supreme Court.  There, she clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has addled conservatives by voting with the Court’s progressive wing in favor of rights for women, homosexuals and detainees held without trial, and against application of the death penalty to minors and regulation of adult entertainment.  Though Ms. Brand did not have extensive experience in the criminal justice system after leaving the Supreme Court, she was well versed in civil litigation when, a few years back, she was recruited to return to public service as a staff attorney in the White House Counsel’s office, advising the president on major legal issues.  From there, Ms. Brand moved to the Justice Department, heading up the prestigious Office of Legal Counsel — often referred to as the lawyers’ lawyer.  Indeed, some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which vets presidential nominees for the nation’s 93 United States attorney positions, wondered aloud whether those questioning Ms. Brand’s qualifications cared to stack their résumés up against hers….

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