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Washington Post Editorial: Eric Holder Must Carefully Rebuild Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division

A.G. Eric Holder

A.G. Eric Holder

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page
WASHINGTON — NO PART OF the Justice Department was more harmed by partisan politics during the Bush administration than the Civil Rights Division. Political litmus tests were inappropriately and illegally applied in hiring career and nonpolitical posts. (“Libs” and “pinkos” need not apply.)

Department leaders de-emphasized and at times discouraged litigation in areas that had been central to the division’s mission, including voting rights, housing and employment discrimination.

They often shunned cases against police departments and other institutions engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination. Morale plummeted, leading to a mass exodus that sapped the division of skilled lawyers and institutional memory.

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