An Orwellian solution to the problem of political appointees overruling the career staff on voting rights issues: forbid the career staff to make recommendations.
Remember that little problem I mentioned yesterday about the Bush political appointees in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department overruling the recommendations of the career staff to approve the DeLay redistricting in Texas and the Georgia virtual poll tax?
You can rest assured that no such outrage will ever happen again. The Department has ordered its career staff not to make recommendations in voting-rights cases..
Amazingly a bunch of Bush I alumni are defending the move on the grounds that “elections matter.” Of course they do. But the Justice Department is supposed to carry out the law, not carry water for its political masters.
As to the criticism of the staff lawyers who leaked the documents: my only complaint is that they didn’t leak earlier. The court which deferred to the administrative judgment of DoJ in the Texas case had a right to know how badly that judgment had been perverted.
Oh, and so did the voters.
Hat tip: Kevin Drum
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman