A dangerous candidate for the top DOJ civil rights job

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was at the center of much of President Obama’s “transformative” agenda. It took a leading role on issues ranging from local police practices, to voting procedures, to transgender matters, to employment quotas, to immigration. In all instances, the Civil Rights Division advanced the left’s position.

The amount of mischief the Civil Rights Division can produce is vast. One of the great things about President Trump’s ascendancy is the prospect of putting a stop to the mischief and setting a conservative course. The appointment of a strong, sound conservative Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights is crucial to accomplishing this.

I was shocked, therefore, to learn from sources I trust that Harmeet Dhillon is a leading candidate for this position. Dhillon is a former board member of the ACLU (in San Francisco, no less) and a past donor to ultra-liberal Democrat Kamela Harris.

These facts strongly suggest that Dhillon has certain liberal sympathies and holds certain liberal views. As discussed below, this turns out to be the case.

Thus, the selection of Dhillon for a position as important as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights would be a stunning betrayal of conservatives by the Trump administration. Conservatives believed (and still do) that President Trump would eschew political correctness and identity politics, relieve local police departments of excessive federal oversight, clamp down on voting fraud, and take a hard line on illegal immigration.

To accomplish this, we believed he would appoint a tried-and-true conservative to run the Civil Rights Division. We did not suspect that his administration would seriously consider for that job a candidate described by a news outlet in her home city as “a Republican leader with a San Francisco twist.”

Let’s examine Dhillon’s San Francisco twist. She has stated: “I am committed to the values championed by the ACLU-NC [Northern California].” This document describes some of the values to which she was committed.

Dhillon favors a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. She believes the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay raises troubling constitutional issues.

Alleged racial profiling and racial discrimination in post 9/11 America have been at the forefront of Dhillon’s agenda. She claims there has been “tremendous discrimination both in public employment as well as in private employment [since 9/11], and frankly this excuse of safety is used as a proxy for discrimination.”

Dhillon holds “feminist” views more befitting of a liberal than a conservative. She has said:

Having been an international lawyer who’s practiced in New York, London, Silicon Valley and started my own business, that’s pretty intimidating to most men to start out with. You add to that running for office …

I’m in the public spotlight quite a bit because of that; I’m always busy; I’m the center of attention in two different staffs … I think definitely the average male ego isn’t well suited to dealing with that. * * * * I think guys are almost frightened in many ways by empowered women who take on challenges like this.

It seems to me that Dhillon would be more at home in an Obama Civil Rights Division than in Trump’s.

It would be particularly ironic for Dhillon to run the Civil Rights Division in a Justice Department headed by Jeff Sessions. As noted, Dhillon contributed to the campaign of Kamela Harris when she ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2003.

Harris now represents California in the Senate. She vigorously opposed the confirmation of Sessions, chiding him him for being named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Harris said:

I have deep concerns about Senator Sessions’ nomination. Particularly, I am concerned with his support for policies that would undermine core Department of Justice functions and his views that are incompatible with constitutional guarantees.

By “undermining core Department of Justice functions,” Harris means, among other things, rolling back the excesses of the Obama administration’s Civil Rights Division. I’m confident that Sessions intends to do just that. If so, he would be ill-advised to entrust the task to former Kamela Harris supporter Harmeet Dhillon.

Dhillon’s backers say that Harris’ opponent in the race for San Francisco district attorney was even more of a leftist. Maybe. But Keith Ellison is probably to the left of Tom Perez, his main opponent for DNC chairman. Still, no conservative would back Tom Perez.

Dhillon seems like a very capable lawyer (though I see no indication of experience dealing with the issues that confront the Civil Rights Division except for her pursuit of race and religious discrimination claims post 9-11). She doesn’t seem objectionable on personal grounds; indeed it seems likely that strong personal qualities have brought her to the fore as a candidate for a high place in the Trump administration. Her life story is pretty compelling. In addition, I’m told that at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, she proved helpful to the Trump campaign.

The Republican Party should be a big tent. The party should appreciate the contributions of moderates who carry its banner in the darkest blue precincts in America. It would be fine if President Trump recognized Dhillon’s contributions by offering her a job, for example, as the U.S. Attorney in her liberal district.

But Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights is no job for a moderate. The Civil Rights Division is ground zero in the fight over the Black Lives Matter agenda, including police practices, voting issues, and racial quotas, and it is a battleground when it comes to immigration, transgender issues, and much more.

The Civil Rights Division must be headed by a staunch conservative. It simply won’t do for a former ACLU board member and Kamela Harris supporter with an obvious liberal streak to head the Division.

The selection of Harmeet Dhillon for that post would be a massive betrayal of conservatives and a good deal of what we stand for.

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