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PJ Media’s DOJ FOIA Request Comes Back … Redacted

Even with the redactions, the left liberal tilt of the resumes of the 100+ attorneys hired into the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration is impressive.

by
Richard Pollock

Bio

June 1, 2011 - 12:00 am

It only took nearly twelve months and the filing of a federal lawsuit, but the U.S.  Department of Justice finally has responded to PJ Media’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by turning over the resumes of the approximately 130 attorneys hired into the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration.

But in what has become an all too familiar pattern with this administration, particularly at the Justice Department under U.S. Attorney  General Eric Holder’s direction, the documents are subtly but importantly redacted. They reflect what must have been a detailed effort by the Civil Rights Division’s political leadership to sanitize the resumes of activities and affiliations that might prove how radical the newly hired attorneys really are and just how hypocritical was the Left’s earlier criticism of the Bush administration’s hiring practices.

The white-outs are selective. While certain activities and group memberships remain, it appears that only liberal affiliations have been redacted. A quick Google search, however, has revealed to us in numerous cases that the “most transparent administration in history” was likely trying to hide.

Ironically enough, the New York Times and the National Law Journal recently submitted similar FOIA requests and were provided the same documents as PJ Media. It will be interesting to see if they focus on the omissions.

The liberal media would never stand for redacted disclosures from a Republican administration. Whether these media giants register any complaints or, as is more likely, simply turn a blind eye to the ideologically monolithic hiring standard, it will be amusing to watch.

Even with the redactions, the left liberal tilt of the resumes is impressive. The documents reveal a rogue’s gallery of militant civil rights lawyers, a topic on which PJ Media will be elaborating at length in the coming weeks and months. There are so many aggressive attorneys who previously worked at the ACLU, NAACP, Legal Aid, or at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights that it is a wonder these organizations have anyone left on their staffs.

Meanwhile, whereas the Bush Civil Rights Division hired scores of liberal attorneys into its ranks, nary a single conservative has been hired since Obama was inaugurated. Talk about a litmus test! Indeed, the Obama administration appears to have engaged in packing the Department with partisans — and that it is worse than anything the Bush administration was alleged to have done. These resumes should have been accompanied by a giant apology to the Bush Justice Department.

In some ways, it is odd that Holder’s team in the Civil Rights Division even felt it necessary to make conspicuous deletions in the resumes. After all, Holder proudly told the liberal American Constitution Society in June 2008 that the Obama administration was “going to be looking for people who share our values.” As if there was any doubt as to what he meant, he emphasized that “a substantial number of those people would probably be members of the American Constitution Society.” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez has likewise spoken regularly to left-leaning civil rights organizations and encouraged their members to apply for career civil service positions in the Civil Rights Division.

So why the secrecy? Applicants were sufficiently proud of their affiliations and interests that they happily advertised them on their resumes that were submitted to the federal government for a public job. Such robust boasts undermine any plausible claim of chilled activity. In any event, in an era where virtually every non-privileged email is discoverable, there is no possible reasonable expectation of privacy in these redacted federal records, especially under the rigid requirements of FOIA.

Bear in mind that when in 2006 the Boston Globe requested the resumes of attorneys hired into the Bush administration, the only items deleted were individuals’ home addresses and telephone numbers. Nothing else. This allowed the media to blather on about the sheer audacity of a Republican administration to hire individuals associated with such groups as — horror of horrors! — the Federalist Society for career positions in the Civil Rights Division. The hypocrisy of this administration in undertaking trying to hide the same type of information is palpable.

One thing that is clear, however, is that PJ Media will not allow the Civil Rights Division to get away with its attempted deception without a fight.  A FOIA lawsuit still is pending in federal court. Perhaps others, including the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, will join in this battle as well.

Expect to read much more about this subject in the near future.

Richard Pollock is the Washington, D.C., editor for PJ Media and the Washington bureau chief of PJTV.
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