Conservative Attorneys Urge Sessions to Clean Up Obama's 'Partisan' Civil Rights Division

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, left / Getty Images
March 29, 2017

A group of conservative attorneys and journalists are urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to clean up former President Barack Obama's Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department.

The letter to Sessions, which was signed by 25 attorneys, journalists, and Kansas' sitting secretary of state, offers guidance on how to evaluate candidates for assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an Indiana-based group that litigates to protect election integrity, released the letter.

"During the Obama administration, the Division served purely ideological ends with rigidity unmatched in other federal offices," the letter reads. "Entrenched federal bureaucrats jettisoned precepts like equal enforcement in favor of political and racialized dogmas with a zeal that risks litigation failure and invites court sanctions. Worst of all, the Division has placed itself in the passenger seat while political allies bring faulty actions against the states working to protect their votes."

The group advocated reforms to rein in "unethical behavior" of government attorneys and wrest control from political activists. The group also said addressing "ideological rot" that was reported by the department's inspector general in 2013 should be a top priority. Tom Perez, now the chair of the Democratic National Committee, served as the assistant attorney general during the period covered in the report.

"The 250 page report detailed the toxic manner in which the Division placed preferences on voting rights victim cohorts and bullied employees from daring to enforce the law in a colorblind fashion," the letter states.

When Perez led the agency, employees "did not believe civil rights laws should protect all Americans," the letter continues. "Investigators were also not amused by the 'petty and juvenile personal attacks' some Division employees posted on public websites about coworkers they shared legal disagreements with, particularly against employees who were openly Christian."

J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, said the assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division is the most important spot Sessions will fill at the department.

"The most important position General Sessions will fill in the DOJ is the AAG for Civil Rights," Adams said in a statement. "For years, a radicalized Civil Rights Division heavy-handedly advanced leftists causes with respect to voting, law enforcement, immigration, and others while constitutional Rule of Law was considered a nuisance. General Sessions has an opportunity to begin the course correction necessary to protect all Americans from civil rights abuses."