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And Justice For Some
It's Republicans-take-all says a New York Times editorial:

The rules of American democracy say every president may install his own team of like-minded people in the government - even at a place like the Justice Department, which is at its root a law-enforcement agency and not a campaign branch office. But the Bush administration seems to be losing sight of the fact that the rules also say the majority party of the moment may not use its powers to strip citizens of their rights, politicize the judicial system or rig the election process to keep itself in office.

There are sections of the Justice Department that are supposed to be dedicated to enforcing the laws that protect the rights of all Americans, not just Republican officeholders and the people who give them money. The Civil Rights Division, for example, has enforced anti-discrimination laws, including the sacred Voting Rights Act, since the 1960's, under more Republican presidents than Democratic presidents.

But The Washington Post's Dan Eggen reported last week that the Justice Department has been suppressing for nearly two years a 73-page memo in which six lawyers and two analysts in the voting rights section, including the group's chief lawyer, unanimously concluded that the Texas redistricting plan of 2003 illegally diluted the votes of blacks and Hispanics in order to ensure a Republican majority in the state's Congressional delegation. That plan was shoved through the Texas State Legislature by Representative Tom DeLay, who abused his federal position in doing so and is now facing criminal charges over how money was raised to support the redistricting.

The Post said the lawyers charged with analyzing voting rights violations were overruled by political appointees, and ordered not to discuss the case. The Justice Department then approved the Texas plan, which had been under review because the voting law requires states with a history of discriminatory election practices to get electoral map changes approved in advance.

This outrageous case is only one way in which the Justice Department under John Ashcroft and now Alberto Gonzales has abused its law-enforcement mandate in the service of the Republican majority. Last month, the Post reported that political appointees also overruled voting rights lawyers who rejected a Georgia law requiring that voters without a picture ID buy one for $20 - at offices that were set up in only 59 of the state's 159 counties. The Justice Department falsely claimed that the decision to O.K. the law - which was little more than a modern-day version of a poll tax aimed at reducing turnout among poor minorities - was made with the concurrence of the career lawyers. A federal court later struck down the law, properly.

Give me Whitewater, the White House travel office, Clinton and his girlfriends. Remember how we spent millions of dollars chasing Clinton's lies about the whereabouts of his penis? Those were the days.

Posted by aalkon at December 5, 2005 6:53 AM

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The panties of Times editorialists moisten all too readily at the mention of "the '60s"... That's how Raines got into trouble. He was partying like it was 1963.

NYT's radio complement in whackjob partisanship, NPR, gave about seven minutes to this on Friday afternoon. A dickless wonder from All Things Considered (Robert Siegel or Mara Liason or MEEEEshel Norris) interviewed a marginally-appropriate academic somewhere for perpsective. Professor Tweedcoat's most damning rhetoric was the word "unusual." It was 'unusual' for this group of attorneys on the federal payroll to have their non-binding --and perhaps unbidden-- chart of feelings dismissed by a more senior functionary in this corner of the government that no taxpayer's really heard of, and probably wouldn't approve of anyway.

Anyway, two nights later the internet is quiet. With reckless boldness, I predict that this scandal will be a non-starter. No one really cared last week, no one will really care this week. Gerrymandering sucks, but we can bet that the NYT was less precious about it in, say, 1997.

Posted by: Crid at December 5, 2005 12:28 AM

"Give me Whitewater, the White House travel office, Clinton and his girlfriends. Remember how we spent millions of dollars chasing Clinton's lies about the whereabouts of his penis? Those were the days."

Nothing has changed. Those were the decoys, to get attention away from actual Administration deals; today, it's the "terrorist!" bogeyman. Pay attention to each, and reveal that you don't really know much about what's going on.

Posted by: Radwaste at December 5, 2005 3:53 PM

Posted by: Crid at December 6, 2005 10:21 AM

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