(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/08/r03a-Eric_Holder.gif)It’s official. The Obama administration is intent on dumbing down the Justice Department. Literally.
P.J. Media uncovered efforts by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to actively recruit and give preferential treatment to the hiring of attorneys and staff who have certain so-called “targeted disabilities.“ Included are attorneys and staff with “psychiatric disabilities,” “severe intellectual disabilities,” and other current severe “intellectual or mental conditions.”
This policy stems from an executive order signed by President Obama in July 2010 requiring that federal agencies develop plans for promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities including “performance targets and numerical goals for employment of individuals with disabilities and sub-goals for employment of individuals with targeted disabilities.”
Pursuant to this executive order, Attorney General Holder issued a memorandum entitled “The Justice Department’s Schedule A Hiring Plan for Persons with Targeted Disabilities.” It directed all Department “components” to establish, by July 31 2012, a program to recruit, hire, and promote “qualified” attorneys and non-attorneys with targeted disabilities.
This brings us to the memo P.J. Media disclosed from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division dated July 31, 2012, entitled “Hiring Of Persons With Targeted Disabilities Policy,” laying out such a program for the Civil Rights Division. Under the program, applicants who indicate they possess a targeted disability may be direct-hired “through a streamlined, non-competitive appointment.“ They are “eligible to be considered, interviewed, and hired for a vacant position” even “before the position is advertised.”
This is taking affirmative action to the extreme. What exactly constitutes a psychiatric disability or severe mental condition? Would drug addicts fall into these categories and be given a shortcut to hiring over individuals who are drug-free? Would a schizophrenic with potentially violent tendencies be eligible? Those who would be inclined to answer yes to these questions argue that the program is only aimed at recruiting and hiring “qualified” applicants. This is an extreme oxymoron that is as illogical and ill-conceived as the program it is used to rationalize.
According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, intellectual disability means “a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills.”
Individuals with a severe intellectual disability have an IQ score below 40 and as low as 20. To put this into perspective, the average IQ score is in the range of 100. A person with an IQ as low as 20 is not qualified for a legal position that requires analytical and reasoning capabilities.
We can certainly sympathize with people who are living with severe psychiatric and intellectual disabilities and offer them special education and opportunities for jobs that they can be trained to handle. However, do we really want individuals with a 20, 30 or 40 IQ or who are afflicted with frequent schizophrenic hallucinations to cut to the front of the line ahead of more truly qualified individuals and take a job at the Justice Department on the taxpayers’ dime playing a lawyer? Apparently, President Obama and Attorney General Holder do.
Holder’s hiring criteria for the Justice Department have raised eyebrows before. For example, he chose Tony West to serve as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, the third highest official at the Justice Department. West had previously represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh. While criminal defendants are entitled to a proper legal defense, does a convicted terrorist’s lawyer really belong in the top echelons of the Justice Department, which is supposed to represent the people of the United States against terrorists and other bad guys?
Holder has selected other attorneys to work at the Justice Department with a past habit of defending suspected terrorists. The distinguished analyst Charles Krauthammer hit the nail on the head, observing on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”:
These people chose to do, for free, defense work for people in Guantánamo, for people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who not only was the architect of 9-11, but he boasts of slitting the throat of Daniel Pearl. He’s choosing at least nine people who chose that this is the work they are going to do on the side. That tells you there is some ideological affinity here. And that’s very troubling, because it tells you why the Justice Department has ended up with some of the absurd decisions it’s made in the war on terror.
Add to Holder’s hiring plan for attorneys with an affinity for suspected Al Qaeda terrorists his “Hiring Plan for Persons with Targeted Disabilities.”
It’s a good bet that Holder sees a bit of himself in both categories of persons he wants to hire.
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