Karen Stevens, Tovah Calderon and Teresa Kwong had a lot in common. They had good performance ratings as career lawyers in the Justice Department’s civil rights division. And they were minority women transferred out of their jobs two years ago — over the objections of their immediate supervisors — by Bradley Schlozman, then the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Schlozman ordered supervisors to tell the women that they had performance problems or that the office was overstaffed. But one lawyer, Conor Dugan, told colleagues that the recent Bush appointee had confided that his real motive was to “make room for some good Americans” in that high-impact office, according to four lawyers who said they heard the account from Dugan.
In another politically tinged conversation recounted by former colleagues, Schlozman 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.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan today to shine a renewed spotlight on decision-making in the division by questioning Schlozman’s replacement, Wan Kim, about hiring practices and about its support for state voter-identification programs that could inhibit minority voting.
Democrats also plan to ask about the dwindling diversity of the staff in a division whose core mission includes fighting racial discrimination. The Bush administration, largely under Schlozman, hired seven members as replacements or additions to the 14-lawyer appellate section where Stevens, Calderon and Kwong worked. They included six whites, one Asian and no African Americans.
For those of you keeping track, this practice is illegal. It’s also immoral and unethical. But that’s never stopped the Bushies; in fact, as we’ve discovered, being a loyal Bushie seems to be the only qualification for holding a job in the Department of Justice. It doesn’t matter if you went to law school at Harvard or the South Valley College of Law and Pachinko Parlor; all you have to do is worship at the feet of the Dear Leader and prove that you know how to use the CTRL+ALT+Del key combo on your computer’s e-mail and you’re in.
The Bush administration’s idea of diversity is that anyone’s welcome to work for them as long as they’re white, Christian, and Republican. Bring your own brown shirt, though.
PS: Also note in the article that Mr. Scholzman wasn’t looking for just any good Americans; he was concerned that one lawyer might have voted for John McCain in 2000 in the primary. Off with their head!