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Monday, January 23, 2006

A block buster article by Dan Eggen on political bias in the Justice Department's voting section.

As has been reported already, Bush's political appointees have a pattern of over ruling staff attorneys in ways which help Republicans (and in one case which was held to be unconstitutional). One key issue was a Georgian law requiring voters to present photo identification. The law clearly establishes a poll tax and thus is unconstitutional. Georgia is now working on a new bill under which they will give people photo ID.

The Justice Department's voting section has a very relaxed view of conflict of interest. It's decision to accept the law was made by a former Republican party official who had advocated the law before evaluating it.

One of the officials involved in the decision was Hans von Spakovsky, a former head of the Fulton County GOP in Atlanta, who had long advocated a voter-identification law for the state and oversaw many voting issues at Justice. Justice spokesman Eric W. Holland said von Spakovsky's previous activities did not require a recusal and had no impact on his actions in the Georgia case.

Well at least Mr Holland has a sense of humor. Of course advocating something has no impact on whether you declare it to be illegal.

As to von Spakovsky, he is out of there as "Von Spakovsky has since been named to the Federal Election Commission in a recess appointment by President Bush."

Michael A. Carvin, a civil rights deputy under Reagan, won't let Holland claim the craziest quote prize without a fight. He argues that career lawyers in the Justice Department's voting section have long been acting counter to normal practice. Now my problem with this claim is not that it is false, it is self contradictory. There aren't a lot of competing voting sections you know. The systematic behavior of voting section career lawyers *is* the normal practice.

Carvin and other conservatives also say the opinions of career lawyers in the section frequently ...

"The notion that they are somehow neutral or somehow ideologically impartial is simply not supported by the evidence," Carvin said. "It hasn't been the politicos that were departing from the law or normal practice, but the voting-rights section."

Now that is special. I don't think the FEC is enough for this guy. By taking on logic itself for Bush, he's earned a nomination to the supreme court.

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