Justice Dept. Working to Rebuild Civil Rights Division After Bush Years

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo
Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Under the Bush years, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division took a beating. The administration was accused of politicizing its hiring. And nearly 70 percent of the lawyers left in mass between 2003 and 2007, the Washington Post reported.

Now Thomas E. Perez, who heads the division, is working to rebuild and rehire, the Post reports.

“We had to do some healing,” Perez tells the Post. “We had to restore the partnership between the career staff and the political leadership. And frankly, certain civil rights laws were not being enforced.”

The Post reports that the division has stepped up enforcement of employment, disability rights and other anti-discrimination laws and “hate crimes and police misconduct are a renewed focus, and several section chiefs from the George W. Bush era have left.”

“I think we have positioned the division to carry out its traditional mission of enforcement and be nimble enough to respond to emerging challenges,” Perez told the Post.

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