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Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Immigration Office

All five new hires to the Justice Department's immigration office have far-left resumes — which were only released following a PJM lawsuit. (This is the third in a series of articles about the Justice Department's hiring practices since President Obama took office. Read parts one and two.)

by
Richard Pollock

Bio

August 12, 2011 - 12:00 am

Five attorneys have been hired into OSC since Attorney General Holder took office, each one more radical than the next.

Elizabeth Hack: Ms. Hack was hired as the Special Litigation Counsel for OSC, the Section’s number two ranking official. A long-time Democratic activist, she contributed $2,500 to Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential election cycle, the maximum amount permitted by law, as well as another $500 to his political action committee back in 2006.

Ms. Hack’s real problem occurred while she was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division in the mid-1990s. During that period, she was co-lead counsel in the Division’s infamous disparate impact lawsuit against the city of Torrance, California, in which she claimed that the city had discriminated against minorities in the hiring of police officers and firefighters. The district judge (a Jimmy Carter appointee) ultimately threw out the case and sanctioned the Division more than $1.7 million for pursuing an action that was entirely devoid of merit.

The case was such a stain on the Justice Department that the House Judiciary Committee convened a special oversight hearing to probe the Civil Rights Division’s shameful conduct. The testimony of Torrance’s attorney from Latham & Watkins at the hearing is nothing short of stunning for what it reveals about the shoddy work by Ms. Hack and her colleagues on the trial team.

Now Ms. Hack has been welcomed back.

Ronald Lee: Mr. Lee joined the Civil Rights Division after having served as a senior staff attorney at the liberal Asian American Justice Center. This organization is connected at the hip with Democratic Party officials and is so out of touch with its constituency that it proudly touts on its website its support of “affirmative action across the board.” (Try convening a group of Asian high school students who have benefited from affirmative action. It will be a very lonely room.)

During his time with this group, Mr. Lee spoke publicly about his opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 law that makes it a state crime for illegal aliens to commit federal immigration violations while in the state. His remarks reflected a level of naiveté and ignorance of both the statutory text and governing legal precedent.

On his resume, Mr. Lee proudly references his service as president of his law school chapter of the American Constitution Society (the liberal counterweight to the Federalist Society). He also notes he served as an editor of the activist Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy.

Seema Nanda: Ms. Nanda comes to the Division from her previous position as a supervisory attorney in the National Labor Relations Board’s “Division of Advice.” The highlight of her tenure there — according to her own resume — was her guidance on a case called Mezonos Bakery in which she advocated for the back pay rights of illegal aliens. For those not steeped in labor law, this was a decision in which the NLRB essentially cast aside a 2002 Supreme Court decision holding that illegal aliens had no such rights.

Ms. Nanda has served as chair of the Board of Directors of both the Refugee Women’s Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. She also contributed $1,500 during the 2010 election cycle to Raj Goyle, a far left Democratic congressional candidate in Kansas (and former staffer at the Center for American Progress) who was ultimately trounced in the general election.

Phil Telfeyan: Mr. Telfeyan joined the Civil Rights Division straight out of a judicial clerkship and only a year after graduating law school. But his emotional liberal activism has overshadowed his legal traits. He penned an article in the Harvard Law Review titled “Never Again Should a People Starve In a World of Plenty.” The piece was panned as little more than soft ideological dribble, with one prominent blogger characterizing it as a “rather embarrassing, bleeding-heart Case Comment” and another calling it a “sanctimonious and silly moral screed.”

Mr. Telfeyan’s entire motivation for the article was his opposition to a statue on the Harvard campus which he equated with the cruelty of intergenerational inequality. As it turns out, he was fantastically wrong. Indeed, the statue actually paid homage to the victims of the Irish potato famine. Mr. Telfeyan was forced to apologize, but not before his arguments about society’s moral obligations were blasted by critics as “unserious, unexamined, unedited, and unschooled — accurate only in the gentle, non-judgmental playground of his mind.”

Nor were his activities at Harvard anything new. Indeed, the Harvard Crimson published a story on him that highlighted his activism. The Crimson described his personal frustration that he could not participate in the violent 1999 protests in Seattle in which anarchists sought to physically destroy the city based on their bizarre opposition to the World Trade Organization.

The paper went on to note that Mr. Telfeyan “claims to have staged his own protest senior year at Mira Loma. His high school tried to stop Pajama Day, a popular school spirit activity. Telfeyan reacted by going on a hunger strike and chaining himself up to an oak tree for three days. He reports that he was not completely tied up, and could have left at any time, but the move was symbolic.”

This is a Department of Justice employee.

Mr. Telfeyan’s other activities were redacted from the resume released by the Civil Rights Division in response to our FOIA request. One can only imagine what else he must be involved in.

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