Streetcar Line

Thomas Perez Should Be Blocked

Panther-case scofflaw merits no cabinet post.

By 3.12.13

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If President Obama thinks he can get away with appointing an obvious prevaricator to be Secretary of Labor – and a radical, race-baiting one at that – he has lost all touch with reality. Even a group as confused and fractious as the caucus of Senate Republicans is sure to find the collective backbone to block the (expected) appointment of Thomas Perez.

As I described in detail last August, Perez is one of the most loathsome figures in the thoroughly loathsome political ranks of Obama’s Justice Department.

He has led the administration’s racial scaremongering against voter ID laws, but got smacked down hard by the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit, so that elections in South Carolina this week will go ahead with the law in effect. (This wasn’t a partisan decision: The unanimous three-judge panel included Clinton appointee Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.)

Indeed, Perez doesn’t even seem to be a very good lawyer at all: His positions also have been rebuked by courts in Arkansas (about the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act), again in the D.C. District Court, in New York on an education case (U.S. v. Brennan), in a Florida abortion case where Perez’ team was abusively prosecuting peaceful protesters, and most particularly in a major Perez loss in Florida when trying to force the state not to remove non-citizens from its voter rolls.

Perez has overseen most of the unprecedentedly naked politicization of DoJ’s Civil Rights Division, as detailed in an exhaustive series of reports at PJ Media. In short, of 113 “career” (meaning supposedly apolitical) civil-service hires for the Civil Rights Division under Obama and (mostly) Perez, every one of those 113 were demonstrably liberal activists. (The New York Times effectively confirmed this report: “None of the new hires listed conservative organizations.”) In fact, many of them hailed from backgrounds with outfits such as the “Intersex Society of North America,” or wrote essays about “Genital Normalizing Surgery on Intersexed Infants,” or fiercely advocated the “rights” of prisoners in Arizona to perform Hawaiian chants and rituals. Since Dec. 3, 2009, Perez has insisted on personally approving each of these new hires.

He has aggressively continued a series of lawsuits against various municipal police and fire departments to try to force them to jettison written tests for membership – including a suit against the heroic Fire Department of New York in which the Obama team has argued in favor of what amounts to strict racial quotas – at the expense of public safety. Amazingly enough, Perez actually argued that black firefighter applicants who fail 70 percent (!!!!) of the entrance exam still be admitted to the fire academy. This is, by the way, another case where Perez may well be on the losing side: Last month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a “stay” blocking enforcement of the Perez team’s preferred outcome that would have punished the FDNY.

Long before Perez started working for the Obama Justice Department, he had developed a record as a radical’s radical. Wrote the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky:

Perez also served as president of Casa de Maryland, an extreme advocacy organization that opposes the enforcement of our immigration laws. This group has encouraged illegal aliens not to speak with police officers or immigration agents; it has fought restrictions on illegal aliens’ receiving driver’s licenses; it has urged the Montgomery County Police Department not to enforce federal fugitive warrants; it has advocated giving illegal aliens in-state tuition; and it has actively promulgated “day labor” sites, where illegal aliens and disreputable employers openly skirt federal prohibitions on hiring undocumented individuals.

Moreover, Perez’ enthusiasm for racial quotas (or their equivalent) has gone beyond even the traditional leftist rationalization that quotas are needed to atone for past discrepancies, into the hard-left realm of providing preferences for what the Washington Times called “other social objectives as well.”

Meanwhile, DoJ under Perez repeatedly slow-walked efforts to help ensure that overseas military personnel have real opportunity to exercise their voting rights – and then Perez moved to make permanent the appointment of the official whose incompetence or willful foot-dragging was largely responsible for the failures. (Worse, at the same time Perez’ division was stiffing our soldiers, it was going overboard – without any real jurisdiction – to interfere in each state to try to help felons regain voting privileges.)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the little matter of a federal judge hinting broadly that Perez may have committed perjury when testifying that there had been no interference by political appointees in the course of the Obama DoJ’s decision to drop already-won voter-intimidation cases against New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. This came after Perez also had, apparently unlawfully, refused to honor valid subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights -- and it was in addition to yet another falsehood by Perez, this one to the effect that DoJ had sought the maximum allowable penalty against the Panthers. And it is in addition to several other of Perez’s alleged falsehoods as recounted by noted whistleblower J. Christian Adams, who resigned in protest of them -- most egregiously, to my mind, when Perez wrongly denied that anybody in his division had ever announced that Obama DoJ practice would be to avoid prosecuting certain types of cases or enforcing certain sections of voting laws.

While the original decision to dismiss the case pre-dated Perez’ appointment to the Justice Department, his direct involvement in, and hands-on management of, what amounted to a cover-up of the decision’s origins should alone be disqualifying for any Cabinet post.

Again, the words about Perez’ dishonesty came straight from federal judge Reggie Walton:

The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision. Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision-making.

Thomas Perez has a record of dishonesty, radical leftism, legal hackery, and contempt in some cases for the rule of law itself. This man has no business heading a major Cabinet Department; instead, he should be swiftly cashiered from all federal government service.

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.