Jewish World Review
August 10, 2000 / 9 Menachem-Av, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- PRESIDENT CLINTON has done it again. Last week, he thumbed his nose at the Constitution, Senate Republicans, and every individual who believes in equal opportunity by appointing Bill Lann Lee as head of the Justice Department's civil rights division.
So what, you say? Shouldn't Clinton have the prerogative to appoint whomever he pleases to top law enforcement positions? Not when the president circumvents the Senate's constitutionally mandated advice-and-consent role. Not when the appointment is timed for partisan exploits. And not when the appointee in question is more committed to defying the law than defending it.
Lee, a Chinese-American who formerly served as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is one of the nation's most prominent supporters of racial quotas and preferences. In contempt of both the court of law and the court of public opinion, Lee aggressively advocates race-based affirmative action programs – even if it means ramming them down others' throats at taxpayer expense.
Liberal Asian-Americans activists and other minority leaders are elated by Clinton's installment of Lee, which the White House engineered last week during the congressional summer recess – and just as the GOP convention was ending in Philadelphia. As an Asian-American, I'm embarrassed that Lee has risen to such prominence by embracing discrimination in the name of diversity. As a conservative, I'm ashamed of the Republican Party's failure to stop Clinton from turning Lee loose on the nation.
Despite being rejected for Senate confirmation, Lee became "acting" attorney general for civil rights in 1997. Legal scholars say Clinton's maneuver was a blatantly illegal end run around the Constitution, which gives the Senate the power to advise and consent on major executive appointments. Moreover, federal law limits the tenure of interim appointments to 120 days, yet Lee filled the vacancy for more than two years – and, thanks to Clinton's latest act, will now serve until at least the end of this administration's term.
When asked what he wished his legacy at the Department of Justice to be, Lee told the Dallas Morning News: "I guess we would start with the physician's oath: I don't want to have done any harm." Guess it depends on the meaning of "harm." Lee, a lifelong proponent of forced busing, racially-gerrymandered voting districts, lower testing standards for minorities, and racial proportionalism in public hiring, education, and contracting, has wasted no time wreaking havoc in the legal arena:
He challenged implementation of California's Proposition 209, the voter-approved ban on racial preferences in government, despite a unanimous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the initiative.
He ignored Supreme Court decisions in pursuit of racial set-asides in public contracting.
He bullied several municipalities into entering consent decrees to adopt race and gender preferences in hiring.
One such consent decree, entered into by the Pittsburgh Police Department, was based on secondhand evidence gathered by Lee's former employer, the NAACP, along with the American Civil Liberties Union. Compliance, which includes hefty payoffs to the cultural diversity-affirmative action complex, has cost Pittsburgh upwards of $5 million so far.
When Lee tried to force the city of Torrance, Calif. to adopt racial preferences, a federal judge threw out the case and ordered the Justice Department to pay $1.8 million in attorneys fees for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Nevertheless, Lee lodged similar costly jihads against the cities of Garland, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio. Investigations are underway from coast to coast in cities including Buffalo, New York; Charleston, West Virginia; East Pointe, Michigan; Orange County, Florida; Prince Georges County, Maryland; Scottsdale, Arizona; and South Bend, Indiana.
Not a peep has been heard from GOP leaders. Why not? One Senate Judiciary Committee aide told reporter Michael Catanzaro: "If we try to deal with Lee on the issues, the Democrats and the media will go after us and play the race card." Republicans have avoided attacking Lee's reign because they don't want to be accused of racism.
This same kind of cowardly political calculation colored the Republican convention, where the only televised statement on affirmative action came from George W. Bush's good friend, retired Gen. Colin Powell, who essentially shares the same position as Clinton and Lee.
Compassionate? Hardly. Americans are paying a high price for the GOP
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