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

Alyssa Lareau: Ms. Lareau’s resume contains all the requisite criteria to get hired by Holder’s Civil Rights Division. She worked at the liberal Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, interned at the National Women’s Law Center (a hard-core left-wing organization that has lobbied for greater abortion rights, opposed all Republican Supreme Court nominations, and in recent years partnered with the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org to oppose Obama’s supposed move to the center), and served as a Fellow at the Human Rights Campaign (which advocates on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community). She also volunteered for the ABA’s Detention Standards Implementation Initiative, which has attacked the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security for not providing sufficiently luxurious detention facilities for illegal aliens. Her law review note at Georgetown, which she wrote while serving as a research assistant to the truly extreme Professor Chai Feldblum, was entitled “Who Decides: Genital Normalizing Surgery on Intersexed Infants.”

Michelle Leung: Ms. Leung joined the Section after a brief stint at a San Francisco law firm, where it appears she spent most of her time working on pro bono matters, including a FOIA lawsuit on behalf of the ACLU claiming that the Department of Homeland Security’s detention of illegal aliens was somehow improper because some of the aliens hadn’t committed criminal acts. Her view made sense considering that she had interned at the ACLU of Northern California for two years during law school at Berkeley. She also interned for the Public Defender’s Office in San Francisco and the California Appellate Project, where she worked on death-row representation.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, Ms. Leung was a member of the Students of Color Coalition and wrote her senior thesis on “Multiracial Coalition Politics in California: Analyzing Propositions 187, 209, and 227.” She also produced a documentary film and authored a related blog entitled “Recycling Fear” in which she lamented the criticism of radical Islam after 9/11.

To quote the blog’s description of the documentary:

The late 90s saw a rise in the depiction of Muslims as America’s newest enemy and Islam as the world’s biggest threat to democracy. The growing perception of a Muslim threat crystallized on September 11, 2001. Recycling Fear: The New American Enemy examines the impact that manufactured national fear has on constitutionally protected rights and civil liberties. Through the stories of individuals accused of terrorism and the lawyers that defend them, the documentary seeks to explore the question whether or not such fear really moves us towards global security. In the course of answering this question, Recycling Fear documents various forms of discrimination against individuals who are Muslim and perceived to be Muslim.

Leung was quoted in the Stanford Public Service Scholars Program 2005 annual report:

 [I want to use the] law as a social tool that can be used to advocate on behalf of minorities in our criminal justice system. Accepted social systems (academia, law) can be used in powerful ways to work towards so­cial justice, even if this may not have been their originally designed purpose.

Now she will have an opportunity to put those activist desires into use with the heavy hand of the federal government.

Jennifer Mondino: After working at the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group, Ms. Mondino apparently decided that her work would be easier if she had the enforcement machinery of the Department of Justice behind her. She previously served as a staff attorney at the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project in Brooklyn and an attorney in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. On her resume, she proudly lists her volunteer activities with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Campaign, the Legal Aid Society, the New York City Bar Refugee Assistance Project, the “Unite! Local 169 Fair Wages Campaign” (on behalf of Spanish-speaking green grocer employees), Bay Area Legal Aid, and Human Rights Watch. She also proudly touts her membership in the “National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights”, whose website openly proclaims its real desire “to spread understanding of liberal ideas and advance progressive values.”

Jack Morse: Mr. Morse comes to the Civil Rights Division straight out of law school, during which time he interned for the ACLU of Georgia’s National Security/Immigrant Rights Project and for the Georgia Innocence Project. He also helped draft reports for the ACLU suggesting that the “287(g) program” (which allows local law enforcement to participate in enforcement of federal immigration laws) contributes to racial profiling and should be eliminated. Anyone still confused by Mr. Morse’s views might peruse his law review article in which he argues that the federal government may not legitimately classify material support of terrorism as a war crime (!) and that the U.S. thus improperly tried Salim Hamdan (OBL’s driver) by military commission. Mr. Morse must have a great relationship with new attorney Aaron Zisser (see below), who also has written favorably of Salim Hamdan. It’s nice to know that there are so many advocates of Guantanamo Bay terrorists in the Special Litigation Section.

Marlysha Myrthil: Before getting hired, Ms. Myrthil enjoyed a very brief stint as a Fellow at a private law firm in Florida, where she worked exclusively on pro bono civil rights matters. Most of her cases seem to have involved litigation demanding improved educational programming for pre-trial detainees. Prior to that, she clerked for a liberal Clinton appointee on the Eleventh Circuit and interned at a Public Defender’s Office in Indiana.

It was as an undergraduate at Barnard, however, where Ms. Myrthil really excelled. There, she was the president of the “Black Organization of Soul Sisters” (founded in 1968 as “an outgrowth of alienation and black nationalism”) and a member of the Barnard College Democrats. She wrote her senior thesis on “Fundamental Rights v. Autonomy: The Case for Welfare Rights in the United States.” She also penned a newspaper editorial claiming that Columbia University -- a bastion of political correctness and liberal bent -- was filled with “pervasive racism.” She criticized an apparently satirical cartoon as “exploiting the First Amendment” and demanded that university administrators take action. Apparently, it was a case of “free speech for me, but not for thee.” She’ll fit in nicely in Holder’s Civil Rights Division.