Labor Nominee Exemplifies All That Is Bad with Government

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights who personifies both the Peter Principle and this administration’s flouting of the rule of law, is due this week for a vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on his nomination to be Labor Secretary. If senators who understand how destructive he is don’t do more than simply vote against him, they will have missed a key opportunity not just to stop a bad nominee, but to score easy political points too.

Quin Hilyer provides a useful recap of Perez’s nefarious dealings:

  • Interference with the Supreme Court case of Magner v. Gallagher, getting the City of St. Paul to dismiss its appeal to prevent what would’ve been a sharp (and probably unanimous) rebuke to the federal government regarding its use of “disparate impact” racial theories in housing policy, to the detriment of minorities and poor people everywhere;
  • Refusal to comply with subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights;
  • Dismissal of the Justice Department’s already-won prosecution of the Black Panthers for voter intimidation during the 2008 election;
  • Repeatedly stating and running a department dedicated to the proposition that voting rights and other civil rights law don’t protect white people;
  • Willfully misleading and lying to Congress under oath several times;
  • Racial abuse of the New York fire department, to the detriment of public safety and qualified minority applicants;
  • Hiring for “career” (non-political appointee) slots only attorneys who have demonstrable left-wing credentials—making Alberto Gonzales’s politicized-hiring foibles look like the model of civil service administration;
  • Trampling on religious liberties to the point that the Supreme Court unanimously rejected his arguments in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC regarding the “ministerial exception” to employment laws;
  • Conducting government business from a personal email account as much as 1,200 times (!) and now refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas to release those emails; and
  • Unrelated to him personally, being nominated to lead a cabinet department whose jurisdiction overlaps with an independent agency, the National Labor Relations Board, that was improperly constituted via illegal recess appointments and has continued to issue rulings even after the government lost its case unanimously at the D.C. Circuit.

About the only thing that The Talented Mr. Perez has going for him is that his performance at his confirmation hearing wasn’t the complete disaster that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s was at his (a low bar). In short, if there is ever a reason not to simply defer to the president in his choice of cabinet members or to make political hay rather than simply have a quiet vote, this is it.