Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2007

Those Non-Partisan Careerists at DoJ

Filed under: General,Race — Patterico @ 12:03 am

TPMmuckraker reports:

ABC’s Washington D.C. affiliate WJLA-TV crunched some numbers in the Civil Rights Division’s criminal section — the section charged with prosecuting the worst civil rights offenses like hate crimes. And here’s what they found:

The I-Team has learned that since 2003…the criminal section within the Civil Rights Division has not hired a single black attorney to replace those who have left. Not one.

As a result, the current face of civil rights prosecutions looks like this: Out of fifty attorneys in the Criminal Section – only two are black. The same number the criminal section had in 1978 – even though the size of the staff has more than doubled.

As Richard Ugelow, the former deputy section chief of the employment section in the Civil Rights Division puts it, “We would sue employers for having numbers like that.”

Well, maybe that’s the problem!

Two attorneys out of fifty is four percent. That’s twice the percentage of black law graduates with high grades, according to this link, which notes that “black law graduates with high grades make up just 1 to 2 percent of law school graduates with high grades.” This link notes that “less than 2 percent of the 428 clerks hired by current [Supreme Court] justices have been black.”

Yet this yahoo felt it was appropriate to have the Department of Justice suing entities that hired twice as many black attorneys as the percentages graduating with good grades.

Note to this guy: if the percentages of qualified graduates just aren’t there, there may be societal problems to address — but suing willy-nilly based on numbers alone, without regard for the qualifications of the pool of applicants . . . that’s just irresponsible. Thanks for providing that little window into the way you conducted business in the Civil Rights Division.

TPMmuckraker says:

Ugelow, you might have guessed, is one of the dozens of career lawyers who have left the division in the past six years.

Good riddance.

25 Responses to “Those Non-Partisan Careerists at DoJ”

  1. Note to this guy: if the percentages of qualified graduates just aren’t there, there may be societal problems to address. . .

    Ah yes, but where’s the fun in that?

    but suing willy-nilly based on numbers alone, without regard for the qualifications of the pool of applicants . . . that’s just irresponsible.

    Yet lucrative, none the less.

    JVW (3e27e9)

  2. But don’t call it a quota.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  3. Reading that comment thread at TPMm, I came across this gem:

    What is the Black % of the population? Isn’t it about 12%?
    If that is true, then 2 of 50 is 10%, right?
    Are we talking about 2%?

    Crust (399898)

  4. As usual, Pat, you cherry pick the best news from Iraq and the weakest links from our growing list of scandals.

    AF (d700ef)

  5. As usual, Pat, you cherry pick the best news from Iraq and the weakest links from our growing list of scandals.

    How dare he talk about things that interest him, on his own website no less. The shame, the shame.

    Taltos (c99804)

  6. LoL @ “scandals”.

    I’d be offended if I knew that Justice was hiring me because they needed to find another “black” attorney, as opposed to another “qualified” attorney.

    Lehosh (2fc6bc)

  7. As usual, Pat, you cherry pick the best news from Iraq and the weakest links from our growing list of scandals.

    As opposed to the worst news from Iraq (often as links, and often several years old), and the most knee-jerk Dem talking-points about republicans?

    Yeah, I can see how Pat’s stuff could annoy you…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  8. Poor AF. Pat, you need to stop forcing him to come here and read all this stuff that ticks him off. Let him leave! Let him stay away! What kind of sadist are you!?

    McGehee (25adee)

  9. I don’t come here for Pat, or for the Scott or Pablo.
    I come here because the people who read them should hear other opinions. I wasn’t whining or bitching; I simply described Pat’s MO that’s all.
    And Scott, if I said the world was round you’d say it was flat. if I linked to a report, you’d say it was funded by the UN or George Soros or the maybe that I found it in the NY Times.

    AF (d700ef)

  10. Another numerical property is the Lake Woebegon Effect — no, unlike Lake Woebegon, not every employer can be above average. If some employers hire an above-average number of black attorneys, then other employers must hire a below-average number. If black attorneys with excellent qualifications are scarce, you would expect law firms to bid up their compensation. Since government has no mechanism for paying bonuses to certain applicants because of their race (and indeed most of the ways that they would compete would be against the law) the excellent black attorneys will all get snapped up by private firms. Also, to the extent that black attorneys are less likely to be wealthy, they are less able to be able to afford to turn down an exceptionally lucrative private sector job.

    It does bring up an interesting idea, though. Employers sued by the Civil Rights Division could use as their defense, “Well, we wanted to hire more black attorneys, but the Civil Rights Division took twice as many as their share and there weren’t enough left for us!”

    cathyf (6d1f33)

  11. Your argument assumes the Justice Department only hires law graduates with good grades. Do you know that to be the case?

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  12. HBS, when the BA takes it on the chin for recruiting from second-rate (read: conservative) schools, we are told the JD is a plum career path and the JD has access to the best and brightest.

    I doubt if data exists that would tell you what the GPA of JD hires is, but in order to make the case that we should expand the population of potential hires to include mediocre students, you’re going to have to accept a dumbed-down JD.

    I’m not making this argument myself since I think all lawyers are just as smart as all hell. Ask one.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  13. I second what Cathyf said.

    I’ve seen the effects in law firms in my mid-sized City. The large firms here (around 80 – 140 attorneys) want desperately to attract and hire decent black laywers (looking to show diversity). They go to all kinds of recruiting events to try and achieve this.

    However, they just cannot compete with the salaries being offered to these black law students by big firms in big cities (also looking to show diversity).

    Any black law student from just about any level law school (tier 1, 2, or 3) who is in the top 50% of his/her class, can usually expect an offer from a big firm. Non-minority law students are not so luck – they need to be in the top 20% and from a top school to get offers at some of those same firms.

    Because there are so few (relatively) black law students in the top 50% of their law school classes, they are in extremely high demand. Thus, despite making many, many offers to such black law students, firms in my City very rarely have such students accept the offers.

    Even worse, those who do accept the offers, are usually plucked away to work in-house within the first 5 years of thier careers (corporate legal departments facing the same issues and also hoping to show diversity).

    It is a supply and demand question.

    Now, we can next discuss why black law students do so poorly grade-wise at law school. My guess is that most of these students are accepted one to two tiers above where they should be. I.e., b/c Harvard Law is looking to promote diversity, it lowers its LSAT score and GPA requirements for black applicants.

    This results in those black applicants that are accepted to, for instance, Harvard Law doing poorly at Harvard when the may have done decently or very well at Syracuse Law, because he/she is not academically prepared for Harvard Law (and so on down the line – to where some black students accepted at the lowest ranked law school probably are not prepared academically to be in law school at all).

    Having seen all this first hand:

    – watching black law students at my school who had way, way worse grades then me being inundated with job offers during a bad time in the legal field; and

    – being involved in attempting to recruit black law students to a firm.

    I think this is a fascinating microcosm of “diversity” and race-relations in our country.

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  14. My beef with this is that “good grades” should have so much to do with justice department hires in the criminal law division.

    We’re not talking about the most nuanced area of the law here, by any means. This isn’t patent law, or securities regulation. It’s about deciding, out of the vast spectrum of possible violators of federal law (many of whom could be prosecuted under parallel state law provisions) the feds are going to come crashing in on.

    Criminal prosecution is an area that I would think diversity would be more relevant to than almost any other, considering the potential for (and evidence of) racist application of federal criminal law.

    Most obvious is the whole hopefully by now well-known crack-cocaine enforcement fiasco, where Bush Sr.’s administration worked to generate panic about and put super-high penalties to form of cocaine that was more accessible to urban blacks, while the identical drug in a different form (preferred by rich whites) drew much lower sentences.

    Phil (427875)

  15. The same phenomenon exists in college recruiting where black high school students accept generous offers from private colleges seeking to promote diversity, making it difficult for state colleges to achieve similar levels of black enrollment and quality. However, it’s not clear that blacks benefit from these preferences. For instances, black college students graduate at lower rates than whites in both the top universities and the top liberal arts colleges.

    I don’t know if these factors affect black law school students and graduates but here’s an article by UCLA Professor Richard Sander suggesting that they do. Here are two responses to Professor Sander’s article.

    DRJ (c6d1df)

  16. Phil,

    So you are saying the DOJ should not have any standards for attorneys it hires, as long as those attorneys are black?

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  17. Criminal prosecution is an area that I would think diversity would be more relevant to than almost any other, considering the potential for (and evidence of) racist application of federal criminal law.

    Most obvious is the whole hopefully by now well-known crack-cocaine enforcement fiasco, where Bush Sr.’s administration worked to generate panic about and put super-high penalties to form of cocaine that was more accessible to urban blacks, while the identical drug in a different form (preferred by rich whites) drew much lower sentences.

    That was not a racist application of law. You can state that the law itself was racist (i.e., having a law that gave different penalties depending on the cocaine’s form), but the application of that law was not racist. Moreover, the democrat controlled congress had to pass that into law at that time – so that is who you should be upset with as being racist. And that answer to that problem is changing the law through your elected reps, not hiring black attorneys.

    Aside from that poor example, what other examples (from the last 30 years) do you have of federal criminal law being applied in a discriminatory manner?

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  18. “That was not a racist application of law.” It wasn’t racist enforcement of the law, but it was, in fact, a racist application of anti-drug policy. It was evidence that anti-drug policy can and has been applied in a racist manner that hurts blacks.

    Which is the danger when you’ve got a highly-discretionary job such as prosecutor. I just used that concrete example because otherwise I’d have to look up statistics, which we’d then argue about the meaning of.

    Of course, it’s in no way limited to federal prosecutors. Obviously diversity is also important for for state prosecution positions for all of the same reasons.

    Anyway, I think I’ve flopped around with your red herring just about enough now . . . I just realized that you’re the same goofball who planted the absurd straw-man in the previous response to my post.

    Phil (427875)

  19. Everyone knows that whites are really into civil rights.

    ward (57aa5a)

  20. I’ve noticed lately that there don’t seem to be many blind 747 pilots either. Perhaps this clown should consider suing the airlines….

    TheManTheMyth (6e8923)

  21. Liberalism and affirmative action has been the greatest tragedy to affect our society in general and blacks in particular in the last 50 years. What started out as a movement to gain equal rights and preserve dignity for blacks has turned into a race to the bottom and transformed a once proud people into a race of parasites. From the slave owner plantations where they worked for food to the democrat party plantations where they work for welfare checks and the “right” to position they’ve never bothered to earn. Looks like we’ve come full circle.

    TheManTheMyth (6e8923)

  22. Phil,

    Anyway, I think I’ve flopped around with your red herring just about enough now . . . I just realized that you’re the same goofball who planted the absurd straw-man in the previous response to my post.

    Nice. I simply asked a question based on what you wrote. YOU wrote My beef with this is that “good grades” should have so much to do with justice department hires in the criminal law division.

    We’re not talking about the most nuanced area of the law here, by any means. This isn’t patent law, or securities regulation. It’s about deciding, out of the vast spectrum of possible violators of federal law (many of whom could be prosecuted under parallel state law provisions) the feds are going to come crashing in on.

    So, you basically wrote that “good grades” should not matter for hiring attorneys. And, based on the context of what your wrote, you meant it should not matter what grades a black law student gets, they should be hired by DOJ b/c they are black – in order to fight “racism” or “racist application of law”.

    So, my comment is not a straw man, but a direct response to the idiocy you wrote. I honestly wanted to know whether you thought there should be any qaulifications for lawyers hired by the DOJ other than the color of their skin. Either you meant what you wrote (good grades don’t matter as much as skin color) or you did not mean what you wrote. You cannot have it both ways, despite your attempts to do so by calling me a “goofball” and saying the question is a red-herring.

    You failed to answer or address my other comment also. You state: “That was not a racist application of law.” It wasn’t racist enforcement of the law, but it was, in fact, a racist application of anti-drug policy. It was evidence that anti-drug policy can and has been applied in a racist manner that hurts blacks.

    Which is the danger when you’ve got a highly-discretionary job such as prosecutor. I just used that concrete example because otherwise I’d have to look up statistics, which we’d then argue about the meaning of.

    Of course, it’s in no way limited to federal prosecutors. Obviously diversity is also important for for state prosecution positions for all of the same reasons.

    So, you make an assertion and back it up with other assertions. When I point out your assertion is completely wrong factually, you simply re-assert it. Sorry to say, not only unpersuasive, but wrong logically and factually.

    For their to be worse penalties for crack cocaine than for other forms of cocaine there has to be a criminal law passed. Thus, the congress had to have acted. Enforcing those criminal laws is not an “act of discretion” the way you believe it is. Your beef, therefore, is with the democrat controlled congress at that time who passed the law you disagree with as being racist – not with whether there are black prosecutors or white prosecutors. It is a policy question, but not a prosecutorial discretion question as you seem to think. I tried to point out how wrong you were factually, but did not seem to get through to you. So, I’m not sure how you believe it would matter whether there were 100 black attorneys at DOJ or 2 in regard to crack cocain.

    sorry If I scoff – but I’m just a goofball with red herrings.

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  23. I don’t know if these factors affect black law school students and graduates but here’s an article by UCLA Professor Richard Sander suggesting that they do. Here are two responses to Professor Sander’s article.

    My guess is that it is a chain of lowered standards and expectations. By the time a black student gets to law school – where grading is almost entirely subjective and based on comparing the student’s exams (blindly – not knowing who the student is), the black student who has basically been promoted higher than his/her achievment warrants is not prepared to be competetive.

    If, for instance, someone with a lower SAT score and GPA from a not-so-good inner city school gets into a top level college based on “diversity”, that person may struggle to get by with a high C average.

    Say that person then takes the LSAT and gets into a high-level law school based on diversity. Now, they are competing against the “A” students from top schools across the country, when they may have had trouble even maintaining a “C” average in college. And, in many instances, the “C” average in college may have been inflated through special courses (remedial math, english), special tutoring for minorities, and even “gut” courses “black studies”. If not through outright “diversity” grade inflation – most colleges don’t have blind testing so the professor knows the student’s paper he is grading.

    So now the black student has been promoted twice based entirely on diversity: 1st into a higher level college than earned and 2nd into a higher level law-school than merited.

    That over-promotion leaves the student unprepared and unable to compete.

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  24. TheManTheMyth:

    Liberalism and affirmative action has been the greatest tragedy to affect our society in general and … in the last 50 years.

    Greater than e.g. 9/11? Spare us the hyperbole.

    Crust (399898)

  25. Vastly, vastly greater, Crust. Grow up.

    TheManTheMyth (6e8923)


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