The recent slip of the tongue by notoriously foul-mouthed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that sent Sarah Palin into a tizzy and Emanuel into amea culpa appearance before disability rights advocates, now appears to be standard lingo for of all places, the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. In a memo offering jobs for attorneys in its Voting Divisionthat range in salary from $105,000 to $155,000, the Civil Rights Division particularly encourages applicants with “targeted disabilities.” The memo lists a host of targeted disabilities, including deafness, blindness, obsessive compulsive disorder, and mental retardation.
Besides having a “targeted disability,” the prospective trial lawyers’ preferred qualifications include:
” (1) substantive knowledge of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other statutes enforced by the section; (2) familiarity with the various analytical approaches utilized to review voting changes under Section 5 of the VRA; (3) experience investigating and/or litigating voting rights or civil rights cases; (4) federal judicial experience; (5) experience serving as the lead attorney in federal court cases; (6) familiarity with statistical methodologies used in civil rights cases; (6) and fluency in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or vietnamese languages.”
UCLA Law Professor and Volokh Conspiracy founder, Eugene Volokh opines:
“I’m pretty sure I know what happened here: Boilerplate that was designed for a wide range of federal jobs — including the ones (probably a relatively small percentage of all federal jobs) for which one can be qualified even though one is mentally retarded — is just being copied here; and the limitation to “qualified applicants” who “are able to perform the essential functions of the position” ensures that no mentally retarded lawyers will indeed be hired.”
But is Eugene giving Eric Holer and his minions too much credit? His readers and I respond with a Q and A:
Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer?: A: Your Honor
Q: Does this explain why the Justice Department drops a lawsuit against the New Black Panthers when they already had a default judgment against them: A: Yes.
Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer? A: District Attorney.
Q: What kind of “reasonable accomodations” would a mentally retarded lawyer need to perform the job? A: Appointment to the Bench.
Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer? A: Congressman
Q: What does a mentally retarded lawyer in the Justice Department do when a terrorist is caught trying to blow up a plane? A: Read him his Miranda rights.
Q: What do you do with a copy of the job notice from the Justice Department seeking mentally retarded lawyers? A: Send it to select lawyers you know with the subject line, “I thought you might be interested in this.”
Q: But did Bush hire mentally retarded lawyers? A: Alberto Gonzales.
Q: How do you greet a mentally retarded lawyer? A: Good morning, your honor.
Q: Where does a mentally retarded prospective lawyer go to pass the bar exam? A: Colorado.