Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Housing Section
All 11 new hires to the Justice Department's Housing Section have far-left resumes — which were only released following a PJMedia lawsuit. (This is the eighth of a series of articles about the Justice Department's hiring practices since President Obama took office. Read parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven.)
August 30, 2011 - 12:00 am
PJMedia’s “Every Single One” series has been exposing the politicized hiring practices of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under Attorney General Eric Holder. Obtained only after a bitter Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the resumes discussed in the articles reveal a crusade to pack the Civil Rights Division with an ideologically and politically loyal core that will help advance a taxpayer-funded leftist agenda for years to come.
Today we turn to the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, a litigation shop with enormous power over American businesses. This Section, which is headed by the infamous Steve Rosenbaum — the same individual who (along with Loretta King) ordered the dismissal of the New Black Panther Party lawsuit — is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, among others. The Section has an undercover operation designed to spy on American businesses to determine if racial discrimination is taking place. They also have a unit designed to ensure banks keep the spigot of mortgage loans open to borrowers with marginal credit.
If that sounds like behavior which contributed to the economic crisis, you’re right. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez has promised to unleash the Section’s attorneys on communities across the country to pursue unprecedented numbers of discrimination lawsuits against mortgage lenders, apartment complexes, and even restaurants.
At this point in the series, it is little surprise that every single one of the new career attorneys hired into the Housing Section passed an ideological or political litmus test. The same is true, of course, with each of the other six sections that have been chronicled so far — the Voting Section, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, the Special Litigation Section, the Education Section, the Employment Litigation Section, and the Coordination and Compliance and Section.
But this series is about more than skewed hiring practices. It is about more than broken Obama campaign promises to “restore” attorney hiring integrity at Justice — much more.
The series is also about a political culture that bears false witness without hesitation. The series exposes a culture so unmoored from objective standards that, in Washington, one side can charge a political opponent with behavior which they themselves intend to deploy in exponentially greater degree than the original charge, once they obtain political power — which they did in 2009.
Worse yet, the partisan rot the series has exposed is not confined to only federal government institutions. Journalists won awards repeating the Left’s allegations about Bush administration hiring practices, but now defend the new administration.
More than mere hiring practices, the series is about elastic standards and foggy values in Washington. When, as we shall see today, 87 new DOJ lawyers are unambiguous leftists or partisan Democrats, and precisely zero are anything else, the former accusers have the audacity to argue such views are now part of the job description at DOJ.
Had an employer hired 87 whites and no minorities, this very same Justice Department would push aside that pre-textual curtain to search out a violation of federal law. When a government agency is populated, stem to stern, with people who obtained power, in some small part, by charging the prior administration with behavior they themselves would eventually adopt, Americans of every political stripe should care. When media institutions, not content to savor past prizes for attacking the prior administration, actually enlist as advance pickets for the new administration on the same issues, Americans should worry.
This series is about far more than partisan and ideological hiring practices at Obama’s Justice Department. It is about a system that rewards falsehood, hypocrisy, and duplicity.
Eleven new career attorneys have been hired into the Housing Section. As described below, their backgrounds all have a common theme.
Eric Halperin: Mr. Halperin was hired as the Division’s new special counsel for fair lending, a position in which he helps supervise the Housing Section. Although this is a leadership position in the front office, it is also a career slot, offering him all the protections of the federal civil service. This means he cannot be cut loose easily in 2013 absent a broad reduction in force. Before joining the Division, he was the director of the Washington office of the Center for Responsible Lending (“CRL”), an advocacy organization funded by labor union SEIU and predatory lending kingpins Herbert and Marion Sandler. The organization coerces lenders to increase their underwriting in poor neighborhoods where borrowers are less likely to be able to pay back mortgages. Last year, Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government media site undertook an exhaustive analysis of the shenanigans that CRL engages in, and discovered that while CRL is heavily focused on redistribution of wealth, it cares little about the financial safety and soundness of the banks it targets. The articles are must-reads.
Prior to his work at CRL, Mr. Halperin interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he helped promote racial preferences in law enforcement hiring. Incidentally, the Democrat apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His father was a political appointee (deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy) under President Jimmy Carter.
Neta Borshansky: Ms. Borshansky came to the Civil Rights Division straight out of law school as part of the attorney general’s Honors Program, and it’s clear that Eric Holder liked what he saw. At UC-Davis Law School, Ms. Borshansky co-founded an activist group that takes trips around the nation. Her particular trip was to New Orleans, where she and her fellow students volunteered at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, which advocates on behalf of convicted murderers facing the death penalty, and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice/People’s Organizing Committee, another militant left-wing organization. The California Bar Foundation awarded her a “public interest scholarship” for “[dedicating] her time to issues of fair housing, disability rights, prisoner rights, and Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.”
Lucy G. Carlson: Ms. Carlson contributed $500 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign before gaining her ticket into a career civil service position in the Civil Rights Division.
The Justice Department, however, conspicuously redacted nearly all of her community activities.
Jessica Crockett: Ms. Crockett joined the Section as part of the attorney general’s Honors Program, fresh off a judicial clerkship with an extremely liberal federal judge (Solomon Oliver) in Cleveland, and only a year out of law school. While a student at Ohio State’s law school, she was a leader of the Black Law Students Association and the coordinator of the Street Law Program.
She also wrote a ridiculous law review article titled “Putting the Ball in a New Court: Using Restorative Justice as a Means to Punish NBA Players for the Commission of Violent Offenses,” in which she argued that “rather than issuing blanket game suspensions for violent acts between players in the NBA, the NBA should institute a dispute resolution model that incorporates restorative justice in the form of victim-offender mediations and community impact panels.”
Interestingly, racial separatism was nothing new to Ms. Crockett at Ohio State. As an undergraduate at Northwestern, she was part of the leadership of the Black Student Alliance at Northwestern, which affectionately referred to itself as “For Members Only.”
Her community activities were also redacted from her resume.
Joel Flaxman: Mr. Flaxman, only a few years out of law school, is a contender for most radical ideologue hired into the Section. He is a financial contributor to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a militantly left-wing organization that has aggressively advocated on behalf of terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay, illegal aliens, racial preferences in hiring, abortionists, and a litany of other extremist liberal causes. He also served as a Public Interest Fellow at the liberal American Constitution Society.
During his time at Michigan Law School, he was a prolific writer on aggressively radical causes. He penned a bizarre article in which he suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court should decline to hear a case anytime a state supreme court has overprotected individual liberties. Apparently, neither the state nor the public has a right to ensure that the Constitution is not enforced overly broadly. Heaven help us if that were true.
He also helped research a report titled “Documenting Discrimination in Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” which was intended to be used to bolster the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act against subsequent constitutional attacks. But as the attorneys in an ongoing constitutional challenge to the VRA recently pointed out, the report is fundamentally flawed and grossly misleading. It appears that Mr. Flaxman never considered the fact that anyone might actually probe the data underlying his research. (Fun aside: the primary author of the report was none other than the Anna Baldwin of “Queer Resistance Front” infamy from the Division’s Voting Section, whom we have chronicled before.)
Beth Frank: Frank was a former ACLU intern. She also authored a law review note in which she argued that women asserting sexual harassment claims — one of the primary legal elements of which is showing that the victim suffered severe emotional distress — should not have to turn over to the defense any psychiatric records that would undermine their claim. In other words, hide the ball in the name of political correctness and plaintiffs. While this position may have impressed her law school advisor, it did not prove persuasive to the federal judiciary. Legal luminary Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit flatly rejected the argument as far too rigid and violative of the defendant’s due process rights.
Mary Hahn: Ms. Hahn is an activist out of central casting. She arrived in the Section after having served as the director of the Fair Housing Project at the ultra-liberal Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, where she worked alongside the infamous Joe Rich, an extreme partisan who once headed the Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division and whose unsavory behavior has been detailed before here at PJMedia. Prior to that, she spent two years as a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, where she filed a series of amicus briefs advocating on behalf of terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay.
She also wrote another brief insisting that the indefinite detention of illegal aliens who come to the United States by fraudulent means but whose country of origin will not take them back is somehow unconstitutional. Her resume likewise boasts of her efforts at Yale to promote abortion access. On top all of this, she co-taught a course on “Balancing Civil Liberties and National Security After 9/11” with the radical leftist Harold Koh, whose bizarre trans-nationalism positions have been exhaustively chronicled by Ed Whelan at National Review. Of course Koh spent most of the last two years influencing DOJ terror policy from his perch at the State Department.
Colleen Melody: Ms. Melody is another product of Attorney General Holder’s Honors Program, joining the Section just a year out of law school. She spent a year as an extern at the Washington Defender Association Immigration Project, where she advocated on behalf of illegal aliens. After listening to Attorney Vince Warren describe how he provided legal representation to terrorists held at Guantanamo, Melody said:
There is nothing more inspiring to me than true stories of people standing up for what’s right, even though they ended up standing alone. Mr. Warren and his colleagues worked on behalf of clients that literally had no one else, and their story of perseverance and incremental success was energizing and inspirational.
The terrorist clients could have had an experienced federal public defender represent them had activists not volunteered to do so. And Heaven knows what about their “incremental success” inspired her.
These are the views that help land a job in Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
Ms. Melody also interned at the ACLU of Washington, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the Integrity of Justice Project. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation even awarded her one of its Public Service Law scholarships so that she could continue providing what she calls “public justice” without concern for money, sort of like the Civil Rights Division.
Coty Miller: Ms. Miller arrived in the Section after working for a law firm that focuses exclusively on plaintiffs’ class action lawsuits. You know, the type in which tens of millions of dollars are taken from evil corporations so that the lawyers can recover millions in contingency fees and the “victims” can receive coupons for discounts on future purchases. She is a proud member of the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego — both are lobbying shops for trial lawyers who team up with unions and radical environmental groups to oppose tort reform and other sensible legislative measures. Her membership shouldn’t be a surprise given her prominent role during law school on the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, which as we have noted before is a publication whose mission is “to explore the impact of gender, sexuality, and race on both the theory and practice of law” and thereby “complement … a long tradition of feminist scholarship and advocacy at the Law Center.”
Daniel Mosteller: Mr. Mosteller is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and its candidates. According to FEC records, he gave $750 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, contributed $200 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010 and another $200 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the same year, coughed up $250 to Martha Coakley’s unsuccessful Senate campaign in Massachusetts last year, and previously contributed $500 to John Edwards’ presidential run in 2004. Before recently joining the Civil Rights Division, he worked as a litigation counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending, the same liberal housing advocacy organization that was the home of new special counsel Eric Halperin and is thus described above. He also previously clerked for an extremely liberal judge on the Ninth Circuit (Martha Berzon).
During law school, he interned at the increasingly radical Public Citizen Litigation Group (which describes itself as “the countervailing force to corporate power”), as well as the Southern Center for Human Rights, an organization devoted to the representation of convicted killers on death row and other violent criminals.
Beth Pepper: Ms. Pepper is also a big Democratic contributor, including $800 to Obama’s 2008 presidential run and another $250 to John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004. Even while employed at the Justice Department, she continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. Earlier in her career, she worked as a staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, which advocates on behalf of the mentally disabled but also dabbles in politics to support leftist fringe judicial nominees like Goodwin Liu (who was eventually filibustered because he was so radical) and to oppose conservative nominees such as Samuel Alito and John Roberts.
There you have it. Eleven more career attorneys, each and every one of whom is an undeniable liberal.
As the authors of this series have noted repeatedly, there is nothing wrong with hiring liberals to work in the Division. But the numbers betray what’s really happening.
We have so far covered the 87 career attorneys who have been hired into seven of the Division’s sections. Here is a scoring update:
Leftist lawyers hired: 87.
Moderate, non-ideological, or conservative lawyers hired: 0.
How is this allowed to happen? Why, given the obsession with the hiring practices during the Bush administration, is there so far little concern being expressed on Capitol Hill? One can understand why the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility would do nothing. That office is headed by, and filled with, attorneys expert in ensuring no criticism befalls Eric Holder.
But what about DOJ’s inspector general? Perhaps that office will eventually be true to its jurisdictional mandate. Only time will tell.
A final note. These eleven attorneys will be managed by the infamous Steve Rosenbaum, the man who ordered the dismissal of New Black Panther voter intimidation case. Rosenbaum, it was revealed in a DOJ report, even wanted to dismiss the case against club-wielding Panther King Samir Shabazz, but was overruled by his superiors. Sources with direct knowledge of supervising Rosenbaum during the Bush administration describe a petty bureaucrat obsessed with hiring left-wing attorneys to advance an agenda. According to these DOJ sources, Rosenbaum “repeatedly sought approval to hire some of the most activist left-wing ideologues for career attorney slots in the Housing Section, only to be rebuffed by the political leadership. Yet when candidates with even a hint of conservatism were proposed, he threw a fit like a child whose prized toy was taken away from him. The irony was lost on no one. Eventually, a compromise was always worked out.”
Steve Rosenbaum has his toys back, and America should be very concerned.