The Right Wing Dream Team at the Department of Justice: Some of the Players
Many high-level political positions within the Justice Department, addition to John Ashcroft himself, have been filled with ideological warriors from the far right, including many members of the Federalist Society, a legal group with a mission to "transform" American law by rolling back decades of Supreme Court precedents. Some of the members of the team:
Olson, the lawyer who argued on Bush's behalf before the Supreme Court last fall, was, until April, a member of the Federalist Society's Board of Visitors and one of the nation's premier legal advocates for a variety of right-wing causes. Olson represented Reagan during the Iran-Contra hearings and is a close friend and associate of Ken Starr. During Olson's confirmation hearings, questions rose about his role in the American Spectator's anti-Clinton activities and in Olson's truthfulness in answering questions.
Thompson, also a member of the Federalist Society, served as an adviser and witness for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings. For nine years, Thompson was on the board of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, one of a network of legal organizations pushing a far-right agenda in the courts.
Dinh, a professor at Georgetown Law Center, is the point man for judicial selection in the Justice Department and a key architect of the administration's legal policies. Dinh, who worked on the Whitewater investigation, is also a member of the Federalist Society who has been described by a colleague as a "conservative hotshot." During the aftermath of the presidential election in Florida, Dinh was a visible commentator defending the actions of Republican party officials.
Sansonetti is a Federalist Society member who has been a lobbyist for coal mining operations and other industries seeking access to public lands. He served in the Interior Department under Secretary Don Hodel (former president of the Christian Coalition) and as Legislative Director for then Congressman Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., now a U.S. Senator. He is still listed as a member of the Defenders of Property Rights Lawyers Network.
Clement is a Federalist Society member and former chief counsel for the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights chaired by then-Senator Ashcroft.
Wiggins was formerly an associate at Kilpatrick Stockton, L.L.P. in Atlanta. He was also Vice Chairman of the Federalist Society Intellectual Property group and served on the Executive Board of the Atlanta Lawyers Chapter.
Jordan is the former president of the Atlanta chapter of the Federalist Society and was the Publications Vice Chairman for the Criminal Law and Procedure Practice Group for the national Federalist Society.
Nahmias is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and was a member of the Federalist Society's Atlanta chapter.
John G. Malcolm is a former Assistant United States Attorney and also served with the Office of Independent Counsel as Associate Independent Counsel in Washington, D.C. Malcolm was formerly the Chairman-Elect of the Federalist Society's Criminal Law Practice Group.
Flores was the vice president and senior counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families, a lobbying group that strongly supported Child Online Protection Act (COPA), an Internet censorship bill that has since been overturned in federal court and is now before the Supreme Court. Flores worked in the Justice Department under the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, from 1989 to 1997, serving in the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division. In 1997, Flores joined former Attorney General Edwin Meese and eleven right-wing "pro-family" groups to protest what they claim was a drop in obscenity prosecutions under President Clinton.
Von Spakovsky, former vice-chairman of the Fulton County (GA) Registration and Election Board, told a Georgia newspaper that the departure of nine Republican lawyers from the Atlanta area had reduced the ranks of Atlanta's Federalist Society.