Anti-Porn Activist Bruce Taylor Got Judge Job Through Loyalty To Bush
WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Posted Aug 01st, 2008 10:06 AM by Mark Kernes
Bruce Taylor, one-time president and chief counsel of the pro-censorship groups National Law Center for Children and Families, one-time vice-president and chief counsel for Citizens for Decency through Law (Charles Keating's old group), and later, senior counsel to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, was made an immigration judge on October 13, 2006 – but the question asked in a July 31 New York Times article
It's not as if Taylor had any experience with immigration. True, he spent a couple of years in the late '70s as an assistant prosecutor for the city of Cleveland, Ohio – not exactly a hotbed of illegal immigration then or now; spent six months as an assistant attorney general for Arizona in '89, with no particular record for dealing with illegals; and went from there to become a senior trial attorney with the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in Washington, which had little or nothing to do with immigration. After leaving CEOS, he led the anti-porn groups until his rehiring for the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force.
So why, out of all the possible qualified candidates, was Taylor selected as one of just 200 immigration judges whose job, at $115,000 per year, is to decide whether foreign-born individuals who are charged with violations of federal immigration law should be booted out of the U.S.?
The answer can be found in the Justice Department's report, "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General," made public on Monday.
In the section titled "Evidence And Analysis: Immigration Judge And Board Of Immigration Appeals Member Hiring Decisions," the DOJ investigators report that Jan Williams, the Justice Department's White House liaison and one of the prime suppliers of immigration judge candidates for the DOJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) – the agency that hires immigration judges – received an email on May 17, 2005 from the White House Office of Political Affairs – an email that had been sent to White House liaisons in agencies throughout the executive branch.
"The e-mail urged the White House Liaisons to 'get creative' and find positions for more than 100 'priority candidates' who 'have loyally served the President'," the report states. "The White House also sought from each White House Liaison a 'pledge of the number of the 108 priority candidates you can place at your agency.' In a follow-up e-mail, the White House reiterated that 'we simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible.' The context of the emails made plain that the positions sought were political, non-career slots. On May 19, 2005, Williams responded: 'We pledge 7 slots within 40 days and 40 nights. Let the games begin!' Part of Williams’s efforts to fulfill her pledge involved finding IJ [immigration judge] positions for these 'priority candidates.' An e-mail chain involving Williams and the White House dated May 26, 2005, show various attempts to find candidates for IJ positions who have been 'helpful to the President.'"
Although Williams left the DOJ six months before Taylor's judicial appointment, her successor was Regent Law School graduate Monica Goodling, who testified before Congress earlier this year about her process for vetting potential hirees for various Justice Department jobs and internships.
"Under Goodling, the OAG [Office of the Attorney General] continued its control over the hiring of IJs, and all candidates for IJ positions were selected by the OAG for direct appointment," the report states. "Goodling followed the same selection process for IJ candidates as Williams, although Goodling took an even more active role in finding and screening candidates. Goodling interviewed candidates and also researched candidates submitted by the White House using the search string provided by Williams."
Williams' "search string," which she would put into the LexisNexis
Internet database regarding each candidate, is a wonder in itself. The search would attempt to match the candidate's name with more than two dozen socio-political terms, and the results would indicate when the candidate's name appeared in the same news article as one or more of the search terms. (Note that an exclamation point at the end of a term searches for that term and any suffixes that might be attached. Therefore, the term "blam!" would return articles containing the words "blame" or "blames" or "blamed" or "blaming," etc.)
The search string that Williams (and later, Goodling) used was:
"[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!" (Note: "PNTR" stands for "permanent normal trade relations.")
More than half of those terms had nothing to do with a candidate's professional qualifications for the job for which he or she was being considered – "spotted owl"?? – though in the majority of cases, at least for immigration judge jobs, it didn't matter anyway:
"Under Goodling, the principal source for IJ candidates continued to be the White House, which, as discussed above, conducted its own political screening of candidates before sending them to Goodling," the report states. "The White House, in turn, solicited candidates for IJ positions from the Republican National Lawyers Association, Republican National Committeemen, state and local Republican Party officials, the Federalist Society, and prominent Republicans, and provided those candidates to Goodling for consideration."
And while the report does not specifically mention conservative religious groups as sources for candidates, there can be no doubt that such groups were consulted.
The report also says that for Goodling, "filling IJ positions was a 'priority for her'," so it's not surprising that, just six months after she took over the job as White House liaison, Bruce Taylor found himself being sworn in as an immigration judge. After all, Taylor had failed to distinguish himself in his two years at Justice, and his only obvious contribution to the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force was the creation of a single issue of Obscenity Prosecution News in the Spring of 2005.
Indeed, Washington Post reporters Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen wrote, on June 11, 2007, that Taylor's "résumé does not indicate immigration-related experience" – but did note his employment with the two pro-censorship groups. The article drew a quick retort from Jan LaRue, then an attorney with Concerned Women for America's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) and a long-time friend – and former employee – of Taylor's. Although she recited Taylor's long legal experience, her point apparently was that experience with immigration matters was unnecessary, because, "Then there’s the late Earl Warren, who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court even though he had never judged any matter including immigration."Added
another CMI (and Taylor) crony, Robert Knight, on Media Research Council's Newsbusters Website, "If he’s a hack, we could use more hacks."
However, both LaRue and Knight ignored the Post
from Denise Slavin, an immigration judge since 1995 and president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, who said, "Immigration law is very complex, so generally speaking, it's very good to have someone coming into this area with [an] immigration background. It's very difficult, for those who don't, to catch up."
, other successful "qualified" candidates for immigration judgeships since 2004 include oil industry executive Chris Brisack, a former Texas Republican Party county chairman who served on the state library commission; tax cheat Glen Bower, a former Republican state legislator in Illinois and revenue director for (Republican) Gov. George Ryan, who was convicted on racketeering charges in 2006; Francis Cramer, former campaign treasurer for Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and commercial and personal injury litigator; Garry Malphrus, a former Republican aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee who participated in the Republican riot outside the Miami-Dade Elections Department to prevent the recounting of ballots in the Bush/Gore presidential race in 2000; and James Nugent, the former vice chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party.
And it probably hasn't hurt that over the past few years, Taylor has donated $1,350 to Republican candidates, including $350 to John McCain's presidential campaign in the first quarter of 2008.