Political Hiring in Justice Division Probed, By Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post, Thursday 21 June 2007
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
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Schlozman arrived at the Justice Department in 2001 as counsel to then-Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson. A Kansas native and 1996 George Washington University law school graduate, Schlozman had clerked for two federal judges and worked alongside William Bradford Reynolds for two years in the Washington law firm Howrey Simon.
Reynolds, whom Schlozman has cited as a mentor, was a controversial assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Reagan administration. His confirmation for a higher department post was blocked by lawmakers in both parties who accused him of pursuing a radical interpretation of the nation's civil rights laws.
Schlozman's and Reynolds's career paths would end up having much in common.
In May 2003, Schlozman was appointed as a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, and he quickly became enmeshed in hiring decisions previously made by section chiefs.
He subsequently became the principal deputy, and in 2005 he was appointed acting assistant attorney general.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd declined to respond to democrat allegations but did say that the appellate section's recent track record "speaks for itself."
Civil Rights DivisionEdit
division whose core mission includes fighting racial discrimination.
Brad's Work EthicEdit
Bradley Schlozman was to "make room for some good Americans" in that high-impact office
"When he said he didn't engage in political hiring, most of us thought that was just laughable," said one lawyer in the section, referring to Schlozman's June 5 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Everything Schlozman did was political. And he said so."
Schlozman once asked a supervisor if a career lawyer who had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a onetime political rival of President Bush, could still be trusted.
Schlozman boasted of hiring Republicans and conservatives often making personnel decisions with apparent political motivation.
Schlozman's efforts to hire political conservatives for career jobs throughout the division are now being examined as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the Bush administration's alleged politicization of the Justice Department. The department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility confirmed last month that their inquiry, begun in March, will look at hiring, firing and legal-case decisions in the division.
Democrats want to harass Schlozman's replacement, Wan Kim, about hiring practices and about its support for state voter-identification programs that could inhibit minority voting.
Schlozman does not recall commenting on lawyers' voting records but at times encouraged cases to be reassigned to lawyers Schlozman considered to be very talented.
Appellate lawyers said that after Schlozman arrived, the small staff enjoyed a collegial work environment generally free of partisanship. Its lawyers concentrated on framing constitutional arguments for pending judicial decisions on hot-button issues such as voting rights, racial discrimination and religious freedom.
Schlozman made little effort to hide his personal interest in the political leanings of the staff, according to five lawyers too chickenshit to give their names, like no one at the NSA doesn't already know who they are!
He and his aides frequently asked appellate supervisors whether career lawyers handling politically sensitive cases were "on our team," the lawyers said.
Schlozman raised the question, "Can we still trust" people who didn't vote for The Greatest President Ever?
He would be keeping an eye on the legal work of another career lawyer who "didn't even vote for Bush."
Schlozman and several deputies also took an unusual interest in the assignment of office responsibility for appellate cases, repeatedly ordering his underlings to take cases away from career lawyers with expertise and hand them to recent hires whose résumés listed membership in conservative groups, including the Federalist Society.
In February 2005 many were all passed over in favor of a recent Schlozman hire when they applied for a new supervisory job that Schlozman created.
Schlozman was appointed interim U.S. attorney in Missouri in March 2006. But Congress subsequently started looking into why he was hired without any prosecution experience, and why he brought voter-fraud charges against a liberal voting organization five days before the election in a heated congressional race. Schlozman was reassigned this past March to a job in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.