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Another scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department. Former Justice Department at

Another scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department. Former Justice Department attorneys have publicly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the department's Civil Rights Division which was formed 50 years ago to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. According to a recent report by the McClatchy newspapers, the Bush administration has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates. 

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/24/1446251

Another scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department. Former Justice Department attorneys have publicly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the department's Civil Rights Division which was formed 50 years ago to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. According to a recent report by the McClatchy newspapers, the Bush administration has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates. We’re joined by Joseph Rich, the former head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department, and Bertha Lewis, Executive director of New York Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

 


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told reporters on Monday he would not step down because of the scandal involving the firing of eight federal prosecutors. Earlier in the day President Bush voiced support for Gonzales and praised his appearance last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

While last week’s Senate hearing focused on the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys another related scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department. Former Justice Department attorneys have publicly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the department's Civil Rights Division which was formed 50 years ago to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. According to a recent report by the McClatchy newspapers, the Bush administration has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates.

The administration did this in part by alleging widespread election fraud in largely Democratic areas and to push new voter ID rules. Civil rights advocates contend that the administration's policies were intended to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority voters who tend to support Democrats.

At least two U.S. attorneys were fired after failing to bring voter fraud cases. Last year the Boston Globe reported the Bush administration is filling the permanent ranks of the Civil Rights Division with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights. This has lead to the Civil Rights Division focusing more on cases alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians.

 

  • Joseph Rich. Former head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department joins us on the program. Worked at the Justice Department from 1968 to 2005. He joins us in Washington where he now works for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

 

  • Bertha Lewis. Executive director of New York ACORN. She is also the co-chair of the Working Families Party
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