There is a ton of outrage going on over the Justice Department’s brief filed in a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, and that outrage is rightfully so. But there is something lacking in the discussion that has emerged – the fact that there are still a lot of unfilled positions in the DOJ.
One example is Tony Perez. He was appointed in April to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights division, yet there hasn’t even been a hearing yet to confirm him. Tony West, who heads the civil division and signed off on the brief was just confirmed on April 20th. With all these vacancies still at the DOJ that means the people who have managed to get through the confirmation are picking up the extra slack.
That’s the reason there are still so many Bush hold appointees at DOJ. Its not the Obama wants them – its that Obama is stuck with them.
Until the Senate Judiciary Committee gets going, and Republicans stop blocking, we can expect to see poor decisions by the DOJ. My guess is that neither President Obama nor AG Holder had any idea that brief was being filed, let alone that the case may have even existed.
Its not making excuses for the piss-poor brief, but rather a statement of the facts. I don’t think we can even fully call it Obama’s DOJ and may not be able to until 2010.