Posted on June 1, 2011

In Shift, Justice Department Is Hiring Lawyers With Civil Rights Backgrounds

Charlie Savage, New York Times, May 31, 2011


Instead, newly disclosed documents show, the lawyers hired over the past two years at the [Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division] have been far more likely to have civil rights backgrounds–and to have ties to traditional civil rights organizations with liberal reputations, like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


Specifically, about 90 percent of the Obama-era hires listed civil rights backgrounds on their résumés, up from about 38 percent of the Bush group hires. {snip}

By contrast, during the first two Obama years, none of the new hires listed conservative organizations, while more than 60 percent had liberal credentials. They consisted overwhelmingly of prior employment or internships with a traditional civil rights group, like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Those findings were amplified by a report on Tuesday by The National Law Journal, which analyzed the résumés of nearly 120 career lawyers hired since 2009 across the entire division. Of that group, it reported, at least 60 had worked for traditional civil rights organizations.

Robert Driscoll, a Bush administration official at the division who left before the hiring scandal, said that a policy of allowing professional civil rights lawyers to make hiring decisions based on civil rights experience was tactically “brilliant” because it would result in disproportionately liberal outcomes without any need for interference by Obama political appointees.