The Bush legacy: “real Americans” sneer at civil rights – Updated

by on January 14, 2009  •  In Uncategorized

There is (or was) a tradition among career Justice Department attorneys of quality, professionalism and integrity.  Then Dubya arrived. From the LA Times (and the report itself) – more of the flavor of the Bush civil rights legacy at DoJ:

To Bradley Schlozman, they were "mold spores," "commies" and "crazy libs." He was referring to the career lawyers in the Justice Department's civil rights and voting rights divisions. From 2003 to 2006, Schlozman was a Bush appointee who supervised them.

"My tentative plans are to gerrymander all of those crazy libs right out of the section," he said in an e-mail in 2003. "I too get to work with mold spores, but here in Civil Rights, we call them Voting Section attorneys," he confided to another friend.

He hoped to get rid of the "Democrats" and "liberals" because they were "disloyal" and replace them with "real Americans" and "right-thinking Americans."  He appears to have succeeded by his standards, according to an inspector general's report released Tuesday. Among the newly hired lawyers whose political or ideological views could be discerned, 63 of 65 lawyers hired under Schlozman had Republican or conservative credentials, the report said.

"Bitch slapping … a bunch of . . . attorneys really did get the blood pumping and was even enjoyable once in a while," Schlozman wrote three years later when he left to become the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Mo.

Schlozman surrounded himself with like-minded officials at the Department of Justice. When he was due to meet in 2004 with John Tanner, then chief of the Voting Section, he asked how Tanner liked his coffee.

"Mary Frances Berry style — black and bitter," Tanner replied by e-mail, referring to the African American woman who chaired the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from 1993 to 2004. Amused, Schlozman circulated the e-mail. "Y'all will appreciate Tanner's response," he wrote.

UPDATE – Tanner sent Berry a letter of apology, although it seemed a bit strange and strained to me.

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