Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Disability Rights Section
All nine new hires to the Justice Department's Disability Rights Section have far-left resumes — which were only released following a PJMedia lawsuit. (This is the ninth 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, seven, and eight.)
September 2, 2011 - 12:00 am
Anne Raish: Ms. Raish has given generously to Democratic congressional candidates, including an extremely liberal (and ultimately unsuccessful) nominee named Benjamin Konop who ran for Congress from Toledo, Ohio. Before arriving in the Section, she won the New York State Bar Association president’s Pro Bono Service Award for her work on behalf of disabled individuals. Teaming up with Disability Advocates, Inc., the Urban Justice Center, and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, she prevailed against New York state’s refusal to provide mentally disabled adult home residents with community-based supportive housing.
The Justice Department redacted a number of activities from her resume. One has to wonder what was so politically embarrassing.
Regan Rush: Prior to her arrival in the Section, Ms. Rush worked as a supervisory attorney at the Mental Health Advocacy Project, a noble program that provides specialized services for people identified as having mental health or developmental disabilities. Before that, however, she clerked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where she focused primarily on opposing deportation of illegal aliens. She also clerked for Bay Area Legal Aid and interned for Prisoner Legal Services in San Francisco.
She really let her political activist streak shine during the Bush administration: she co-authored a public letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the theory he had personally formulated policies that led to torture and mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Years earlier, as an undergraduate at Indiana University, she founded the “Student Coalition,” which was an activist organization claiming that the university — one of the most the liberal institutions in the country, and one then headed by uber-liberal Miles Brand — treated its minority and women professors in a racist way.
Elizabeth Savage: Ms. Savage, a veteran of the Carter and Clinton administrations, is a long-time partisan contributor to Democratic candidates. She donated thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore for their presidential campaigns as well as to many unsuccessful marginal Democratic candidates.
Emblematic of these campaigns was her 2008 support for hard-left candidate Judy Feder against moderate Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). In 1997 she contributed to civil rights militant Ralph Neas for his campaign for Congress. For those unfamiliar with Neas, he was instrumental in leading the scorched-earth political campaign that defeated Robert Bork‘s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ms. Savage previously served as a political appointee in the Civil Rights Division during the Clinton administration and as a political appointee during the Carter White House. Now she has been permitted into the career civil service ranks at the Justice Department.
Brandy Wagstaff: Ms. Wagstaff was hired into the Section as part of Attorney General Holder’s Honors Program following her graduation from law school and clerkship with a liberal magistrate judge in Washington. She proudly references her membership in the liberal American Constitution Society on her resume, which no doubt eased her entry into the Division. Before entering law school, she worked as a paralegal in the Division’s Appellate Section, where she was initially hired during the Clinton administration.
Jana Erickson: Ms. Erickson was hired into the Section after spending nearly a decade in the General Counsel’s Office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with that office understands full well that finding a mainstream thinker there is like discovering aquatic life in the Dead Sea. Prior to her time at HUD, she worked as a staff attorney in the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education — another bastion of liberalism — and as a consultant at Programs for Accessible Living in North Carolina.