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Every Single One: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder's Special Litigation Section

Tiffany Austin: Ms. Austin is a new line attorney who joined the Section from private practice in Ohio. She did, however, spend time in Washington during law school, clerking for “Bread for the City,” a liberal civil rights organization that describes itself as the “front line agency serving Washington’s poor.” The recipient of an NAACP scholarship, she also served on the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association at Notre Dame Law School.

The Justice Department conspicuously redacted a number of the other professional affiliations from her resume in its FOIA response, so there was likely some type of politically embarrassing information on Ms. Austin that DOJ did not want made public.

Deena Fox: Before arriving in the Section, Ms. Fox worked as a Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Prior to that, she worked for the Children’s Rights Clinic at Legal Aid, clerked for the Public Defender’s Service for the District of Columbia, interned at the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and was a Fellow at the New York City Urban Fellows Program. During law school, she served as editor-in-chief of a journal entitled Review of Law & Social Change, and volunteered for the New York State Bar Association’s Special Committee on the Civil Rights Agenda.

Winsome Gayle: Ms. Gayle is a financial thoroughbred for the Democratic Party. FEC records reveal that she contributed nearly $5,600 to Obama in the 2008 campaign, and gave another $200 in 2009 to a very liberal (and ultimately unsuccessful) congressional Democratic candidate in Kansas, Raj Goyle. She worked as a staff attorney at the Public Defender’s Service for the District of Columbia, interned at the ACLU in New York, and clerked for a liberal federal judge in Florida appointed by President Clinton.

How radical is Ms. Gayle? After arriving in the Civil Rights Division, she spoke on a panel at American University Law School during which she openly criticized the prosecution of drug crimes! She claimed that “the enforcement of the drug laws tend to encourage racial profiling.”

The fact that a current Justice employee would make such comments in a public forum is not only disturbing, but it shows just how extreme the Civil Rights Division has become. Incidentally, she applied for a judgeship in the District of Columbia in 2010 but was fortunately passed over. Although her resume does evidence the kind of “putting empathy above the law” that this president prefers.

During law school, Ms. Gayle was a member of the Harvard Civil Liberties Union, Harvard Law School Lambda, the Harvard Black Law Students Association, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. In fact, she continues to be the head of the Washington chapter of the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus. She also wrote her undergraduate thesis on “Consensual Sodomy Laws: The Place of Morality in Law Where Justice is Concerned.”

Emily Gunston: Ms. Gunston arrived at Justice after working for nearly 10 years as a public defender in Contra Costa County, California. While a law student at Berkeley, she also interned at the Homeless Action Center. One can almost hear the hiring committee: “Check, and check.”

Anika Gzifa: Ms. Gzifa also fits right in with the new crop of attorneys. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Division, she advocated for the release of Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, claiming that he was nothing more than a poor soldier. Khadr is a Canadian citizen who was taken into military custody during hostilities in Afghanistan and assigned to Gitmo, classified as an enemy combatant, and charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying. He is slated to be tried before a military commission. Ms. Gzifa signed on to a letter sent to President Obama pleading Khadr’s innocence and urging his release. The administration was apparently unmoved, as was the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court, both of which have denied Mr. Khadr’s request for relief.

Ms. Gzifa penned her plea on behalf of Khadr while working as a supervisory attorney at the Children’s Law Center in Washington. She affiliated with that organization right out of law school, where she was a member of the Prison Legal Assistance Project and an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

Charles Hart: Mr. Hart comes to the Special Litigation after representing unions at a private law firm in New York. Prior to his time there, he represented criminal defendants at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. He also served as the coordinator for the Capital Research Project in North Carolina, where he performed research on death penalty cases in the state. During law school, he interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the NYU Juvenile Rights Clinic, and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. And he was an editor of the Review of Law and Social Change journal. His resume just screams balance and neutrality, doesn’t it?

Vincent Herman: Mr. Herman worked as a staff attorney at the Children’s Law Center and the Juvenile Law Center before moving to the Civil Rights Division. While a law student, he clerked for the Public Defender’s Service for the District of Columbia and served as an advocate at the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project. He also previously worked as a coordinator of the AIDS Face-to-Face Program for HIV/AIDS Services at Catholic Charities of the East Bay in Oakland, Calif.

Michelle Jones: Another activist Democrat, Ms. Jones contributed at least $750 to President Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election cycle. She was also a volunteer for the Election Protection Project, which is sponsored by the NAACP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, People for the American Way, and the National Bar Association. Ms. Jones also joined with a multitude of left-wing organizations in 2009 to organize a conference at Howard University Law School on “Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Public Education Policy.”

Curiously, the Justice Department redacted her other activities from the resume it released, but you get the picture.