Civil Rights

Human Rights Campaign HRC gay rights Above the Law blog.jpgThe Human Rights Campaign has some answers. HRC, which is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, recently released its annual list of Best Places to Work. And law firms were prominently represented:

[T]he Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a report showing that numerous large U.S. law firms are providing important benefits and protections for their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) attorneys and staff. In this year’s report, which is part of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s broader Corporate Equality Index, 30 law firms earned the top rating of 100 percent. 80 law firms earned scores of 80 percent or above.

You can see the list of top firms by clicking here (PDF; scroll down to page 48). Alas, no 100 percent rating for Sullivan & Cromwell, of Charney v. S&C fame — despite their generous gifts of Kiehl’s products at LGBT job fairs.

But our friends at Nixon Peabody earned a perfect score. Will they commission a theme song to celebrate? Like “Everyone Loves Gay People at Nixon Peabody”?

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this post, we linked to (and reprinted info from) this page on the HRC website. But an HRC rep has informed us that the page hasn’t been updated from last year, and still reflects scores from the 2007 report.

HRC Corporate Equality Index — 2008 [Human Rights Campaign (PDF)]

Clarence Thomas 2 Justice Clarence Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgEd. notes: First, B. Clerker is unavailable this morning, so we’re doing Morning Docket ourselves. Second, by the time you read this, we’ll be attending this event. But we’ve arranged for previously written posts (like this one) to be published in our absence.
* John Edwards tries to put a noble spin on the financial desperation of his flailing campaign. Stick a fork in him; he’s done. [WP; NYT]
* Jena One released on bail. [AP]
* Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects will be allowed to request lawyers. KSM will use his to sue Teleflex. [WP]
* In Pakistan, the Supreme Court gets involved in elections too. From the gallery: “Go, Musharraf, go!” [AP via WP]
* Set your TiVo, judicial groupies: Justice Thomas will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Thankfully, his interview — in which he’s rumored to call Anita Hill “a nappy-headed ho” — doesn”t conflict with the season premiere of Desperate Housewives. [WSJ Law Blog]

Wan Kim Wan J Kim Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re deep into the lazy days of August — and today is Friday. So of course there’s news of a high-profile resignation from the Department of Justice.
From the New York Times:

The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division announced Thursday that he was resigning, the latest in a long string of departures from the department in the midst of a furor over the leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales’s performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.

We can confirm that. Kim’s resignation, effective at the end of this month, does not come as a surprise to DOJ insiders. Recall what we wrote in these pages almost two months ago:

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, who oversees the Justice Department’s important (and controversial) Civil Rights Division, will step down from his post before the end of the year. He was sworn in as AAG in November 2005, so by this fall he will have held the job for two years — a long-enough stint in that position.

So stick with us, kids. We bring you the legal news as — and sometimes even before — it happens.
(Another DOJ departure: Bradley J. Schlozman, who preceded Kim in heading the CRD (on an acting basis). We hear that Schlozman won’t exactly be missed, even by fellow conservatives at Main Justice.)
Civil Rights Division Head Resigning at Justice Dept. [New York Times]
Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on the Resignation of Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Another Rumored DOJ Departure


Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgSome of you have been asking for updates on Shanetta Cutlar, the high-powered Department of Justice lawyer who has generated some colorful stories in the past. If you’re not familiar with her, click here, and browse through the archives.
We don’t have anything terribly new to report on her. We hear that she has been on her “best behavior” ever since we started writing about her.
But since this is ATL Wayback Weekend, we’re happy to pass along something from back in June, which we never got around to writing up back then. A reader drew our attention to this Washington Post Career Track live web chat:

Washington, D.C.: I am a young attorney for the federal government. I loathe my current position because of a very moody and difficult supervisor (the situation is so horrible that half of my office is currently looking for new employment). I am desperate to leave this position, I am extremely stressed because of the work environment created by this supervisor. I have applied for 11 other federal positions.

While I wait to (hopefully) hear about one of those positions, can you recommend any other possible job search options? I really want to leave this position as soon as possible and I’ve only worked for the federal government (two years since law school).

Hmm… We wonder who this person’s boss might be. Any suggestions?
Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up With Shanetta Cutlar?”

Wan Kim Wan J Kim Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThanks for the reminder. In an earlier post, we wrote: “We’ve been hearing interesting rumors about some possible departures at the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) level.” And since today is Friday, the favored day for DOJ resignations, we figured we might as well squeeze this in before lunchtime.
Some of the rumors have already come to pass — like the departure of Eileen O’Connor, as head of the Tax Division, and the departure of Rachel Brand, as head of the Office of Legal Policy. But there’s one resignation rumor that’s still outstanding.
We hear that Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, who oversees the Justice Department’s important (and controversial) Civil Rights Division, will step down from his post before the end of the year. He was sworn in as AAG in November 2005, so by this fall he will have held the job for two years — a long-enough stint in that position.
If Wan Kim does resign from the Civil Rights Division, he can hardly be blamed. Getting scolded on Capitol Hill isn’t much fun. Especially when most of the things you’re getting scolded about are the fault of your predecessor, former Acting AAG Bradley J. Schlozman (who is allegedly not the nicest guy in the world, according to some people).
Senators Deride Justice Reassignments [Washington Post]
Earlier: Why Did the Prom Queen Leave the Party?
Musical Chairs: Rearranging the Proverbial Deck Chairs at Main Justice?

* It’s hard out here for a suburban, country club dwelling, former porn star pimp. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* And by “reshape” we mean “slowly eliminate altogether.” [New York Times]
* House closes VT gun background check loophole. [Jurist]
* Only difference is, once I get my pants on, I make gold records! [CNN]
* It’s also hard out here for a disabled, middle-aged, drug-dealing pimp. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Ty Clevenger, a former attorney in the Special Litigation Section (“SPL”) of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is the one who got the ball rolling with respect to colorful anecdotes about Shanetta Cutlar, the charismatic and strong-willed chief of the Section.
Clevenger sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty raising concerns about Cutlar’s leadership of SPL. Shortly thereafter, Clevenger was effectively fired by Cutlar the next day.
As for Clevenger’s letter, the DAG assigned it to Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, for a response. Earlier this month, Clevenger received the following from Wan Kim:
Wan Kim Wan J Kim Ty Clevenger letter Above the Law blog.JPG
Letters to McDonald’s, complaining about insufficient mintiness in Shamrock Shakes,* receive responses evincing greater concern.
Now we understand why Shanetta Cutlar was comfortable enough in her position to wear a tiara to a recent meeting of DOJ section chiefs. We predict she will remain in power at SPL long after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has left the building (which may not be saying much — but you get our point).
* Yes, Shamrock Shakes are back! We enjoyed one in Miami earlier this week.

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgSome of you have wondered about the drop-off in ATL coverage of our favorite DOJ diva: Shanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (“SPL”). Cutlar has been previously described in these pages as “deliciously imperious” and “a great diva,” and we’ve published a number of colorful stories about her.
We haven’t written much about Shanetta Cutlar lately because we haven’t gotten many new tips about her. Perhaps she’s keeping a low profile these days?
Fortunately, more grist for the SYC mill may be on its way, courtesy of Capitol Hill. From a tipster:

House Judiciary has an oversight hearing for Civil Rights next week. Not sure what day, but I’m trying to find out. I think SPL may be discussed.

And from another source:

The “scandal” of the firing of the US Attys will be the camel’s nose — a way to have full blown congressional hearings on DOJ, especially Civil Rights.

Oooh, exciting! We do hope that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees start sniffing around the Special Litigation Section. Maybe Chuck Schumer will become our truffle pig, unearthing tasty morsels about Shanetta Cutlar and her reign over SPL.
If you have any info about the upcoming oversight hearing — or, for that matter, any updates on what Shanetta Cutlar has been up to lately — please email us. Thanks.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Shanetta Cutlar (scroll down)

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgIn reacting to our worshipful coverage of Shanetta Y. Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, some of you have questioned her “diva” status. It has been suggested that while Shanetta Cutlar may have the temperament of a diva, she lacks the talent or ability of one.
We disagree. And we think the latest information we’ve received about SYC establishes that when it comes to office politics and Machiavellian maneuvering, few are the equal of Shanetta Y. Cutlar.
Just like the divine Anna Wintour, Shanetta Cutlar is a shrewd and savvy woman, who knows how to “work it.” She has risen to a position of power and prominence within her profession, through a potent combination of smarts, charm, and good old-fashioned ruthlessness.
From a former employee of the Special Litigation Section:

Shanetta started with the Special Litigation Section (SPL) as a intern. Within ten years she worked her way up, managing to slide, wiggle and charm her way into the prominent position of Section Chief.

As she quickly moved up the ladder, passing one superior and mentor after another, Shanetta kept a mental tab of each and every accounting in which she felt she was wronged and treated unfairly as a line attorney. Upon taking her throne, she instantly placed her strategic plan into motion, and quickly begin to execute her hit list.

She had the current head secretary placed into the file room until she received a new, hand-selected head secretary. Rumor had it that the exiled head secretary treated Shanetta “mean.” Wow…

Our tale continues, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shanetta Cutlar: A Magnificent Machiavellian”

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgAs we’ve discussed in these pages, certain concerns have been raised with respect to the diva-licious Shanetta Y. Cutlar’s management of the Special Litigation Section, in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. But figuring out how to deal with the Shanetta Cutlar situation is a bit tricky.
We recently learned of one possible solution:

Check out this DOJ posting, seeking a Director of the Professional Development Office in the Civil Rights Division.

When Albert Moskowitz was [eased] out as chief of the Criminal Section [of the Civil Rights Division] last year, he was put in this position. After a few weeks, he left for the Criminal Division.

I wonder if Shanetta Cutlar has been advised to apply for this opening.

This “Director of Professional Development” gig sounds quite cushy — a veritable sinecure at the DOJ. It carries with it a six-figure salary and job responsibilites that are vague and touchy-feely. It sounds like the perfect place to stick a senior official that you want to remove from her current position, but in a discreet, non-controversial, face-saving manner (i.e., without firing her or asking her to tender her resignation).
Our curiosity was piqued, so we did some follow-up. Discussion continues, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Shanetta?”

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