Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Education Section
All 11 new hires to the Justice Department's Education Section have far-left resumes — which were only released following a PJMedia lawsuit. (This is the fifth in a series of articles about the Justice Department's hiring practices since President Obama took office. Read parts one, two, three, and four.)
August 17, 2011 - 12:00 am
Kathleen Schleeter: Holder’s Honors Program has also brought Ms. Schleeter to the Education Section. During law school, she worked as a Program Assistant for the National Women’s Health Network, which identifies as its primary mission “ensuring that women have self-determination in all aspects of their reproductive and sexual health” (read: promoting abortions); indeed, the organization’s executive director and policy director are both former senior staffers at the National Abortion Rights Action League. Ms. Schleeter also served on the editorial board of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law and as president of the Public Interest Law Association.
Mehgan Sidhu: Ms. Sidhu worked for approximately four years at a plaintiff’s civil rights firm in Baltimore before joining the Education Section. During law school, she clerked for the ACLU of Maryland, interned at the Children’s Defense Fund (the aggressively liberal organization headed by Hillary Clinton pal Marian Wright Edelman), and participated in the AIDS and Child Welfare Clinic. Any school district targeted by Ms. Sidhu that thinks it is going to receive a fair and balanced investigation is kidding itself.
Joseph Wardenski: Like his new colleagues, Mr. Wardenski, a contributor to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, has a rich activist background that will serve him well in this administration’s Civil Rights Division. Although he worked very briefly as an associate at a large law firm in New York, where he seemed to spend an extraordinary amount of time on pro bono criminal defense and voting rights matters, Mr. Wardenski cut his legal teeth as an intern at the NAACP LDF. There he helped research and draft memoranda designed to give convicted felons the right to vote and to ensure that public schools could racially engineer the assignments of students from one location to another. He previously interned as well at the Urban Justice Center, a left-wing advocacy organization that seeks to monitor and report on what it characterizes as “economic human rights violations” in the United States.
On his resume, Mr. Wardenski proudly notes his service as president of the Princeton College Democrats, co-chair of “OUTLaw” (the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender association) at Northwestern University Law School, and education policy director for an uber-liberal Colorado politician (Jared Polis) who is now a Democratic congressman and member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He also highlights the law review article he authored in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology in which he argued that the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas sodomy decision must be interpreted to include rights for teenage homosexuals. He does not, however, reference another public report he drafted on behalf of a group called “Gay Men’s Health Crisis” which criticized the FDA’s prohibition on blood donations from certain at-risk homosexual groups.
Mr. Wardenski now spends much of his time as one of the Justice Department’s representatives on the Steering Committee of the Obama administration’s “Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention” campaign. As both Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity recently pointed out, the legal predicate for this federal response to bullying is extremely weak. But as we have seen time and again from Eric Holder’s Justice Department, the law is often little more than a distraction.
Ryan Wilson: Rounding out the Education Section’s new crop of attorneys is Mr. Wilson. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Division, he labored as a staff attorney for an organization called Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Ohio, which “promote[s] systemic change on behalf of individuals and groups of low-income people in the areas of civil rights and poverty law” by “seek[ing] to change policy, laws, and regulations at local and state levels.” Before that, he was an attorney at Legal Aid of Western Ohio in its Homelessness Prevention Project.
During law school, he worked as a research fellow at the ultra-liberal Center for Civil Rights and as a student attorney at the University of North Carolina Juvenile Justice Clinic. Meanwhile, in his undergraduate days, he was president of the University of North Carolina’s chapter of the NAACP, a member of the Young Democrats, and a participant in the “Black Student Movement.”
Just as is true of the new career attorneys hired into every other Section of the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration, every single one of these new civil servants — without exception — is an undeniable liberal. Not a one is even apolitical, let alone conservative.
None of this is to suggest that liberals should be precluded from working in the Division. Indeed, the Bush administration hired attorneys all across the political spectrum, including some of the most fervent left-wing ideologues who now occupy the leadership positions in many of the Sections across the Division. At a certain point, though, the patently ridiculous claims by Eric Holder and his subordinates that no ideological litmus test is being employed in hiring are no longer going to pass the laugh test, even if they say so under oath before Congress, and even with their most ardent supporters in the media. Capitol Hill is going to take notice. Perhaps even the Inspector General’s Office, too, although that office’s ability to produce a politically balanced report is yet to be seen. But the days of Eric Holder being able to lie to the public with impunity are coming to an end.
Here’s the good news. With the budget disaster facing the next (Republican) president, these recently hired radicals may not yet have vested. The administration can implement a reduction in force (RIF) and walk the least senior lawyers right out the door.