The New York Times, 3/23/2009
In a little-noticed act of political faintheartedness, the Obama administration has pulled back from nominating Thomas Saenz, a highly regarded civil-rights lawyer and counsel to the mayor of Los Angeles, to run the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
Mr. Saenz, the former top litigator in Los Angeles for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or Maldef, was privately offered the job in January. The floating of his name led to fierce outbursts from anti-immigrant groups and blogs, which detest him for being so good at what he does.
Mr. Saenz would have been an ideal candidate to reaffirm values that have been lost in the poisoned immigration debate, had Mr. Obama dared to nominate him.