|Constance Smith Barker|
Most Americans, thankfully, never will know what it's like to experience a third term of the George W. Bush administration. But here in Alabama, we have a pretty good idea what it would be like. That's because we are living it--under President Barack H. Obama.
Want the latest evidence? Obama announced this week that he would nominate Constance Smith Barker as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Barker currently is an EEOC commissioner, appointed in 2008 by . . . George W. Bush. Before that, she was a shareholder at the Montgomery, Alabama, firm of Capell and Howard, known for being Karl Rove's base of operations when he conducts business in our fair state.
What, again, was that change we were supposed to believe in? Apparently that did not include Alabama. In fact, this is just one of several mind-boggling appointments that Obama has made or proposed in Alabama. Starting to make me think I might as well have voted for John McCain in 2008.
Here is a little background on Constance Smith Barker, from a White House press release:
Constance Smith Barker currently serves as Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Prior to her appointment by President George W. Bush, Ms. Barker was a shareholder for 13 years at the law firm of Capell and Howard, P.C. in Montgomery, Alabama. Before she entered private practice, Ms. Barker was General Counsel to the Mobile County Public School System for 11 years. She also served as a part-time municipal judge for two municipalities in Mobile County, Alabama and was active in Mobile County’s juvenile justice system. Previously, Ms. Barker worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the 11th and 13th Judicial Circuits of Alabama. In 2007, she was awarded the Alabama State Bar’s Award of Merit for outstanding service to the legal profession. Ms. Barker has served on the boards of the Mobile Area YWCA and the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. She holds a B.A. from Notre Dame University and a J.D. from the University of Alabama, School of Law.
That doesn't really tell you much. The good stuff comes from this piece at the Web site Affirmative Action Blog Spot. It came after her appointment as an EEOC commissioner in 2008 . . . by George W. Bush. Here is a snippet:
Connie has practiced employment law at Capell and Howard, P.C. since 1996, when she joined the firm as a shareholder. She represents a broad cross-section of commercial, manufacturing, retail and professional firms. Her clients include manufacturing plants, retail businesses, medical groups, physicians, real estate development and investment firms, and an architectural and engineering firm.
Translation: Barker spent much of her professional career defending businesses that discriminate. Has she ever been a plaintiff's attorney in an employment case, representing a victim of discrimination? Apparently not.
The Affirmative Action Blog Spot piece does say this:
Her efforts are equally focused on the prevention of discrimination claims and the defense of lawsuits. She works closely with corporate clients to guide their decision-making process through the mine fields of potential discrimination liability.
That part about "prevention of discrimination claims" sounds nice. But what if her prevention efforts did not work? What if her corporate clients cheated employees anyway? She apparently defended the cheaters. Has she ever stood up for a victim of discrimination? We see no signs of it.
In short, Constance Smith Barker has spent much of her career making sure that employees are denied equal opportunity in the workplace. And the Obama administration thinks she would be a good choice to enforce equal-opportunity laws?
Consider a few other Alabama head-scratchers from the White House:
Abdul Kallon, U.S. judge, Northern District of Alabama--Kallon came to the bench from the Birmingham law firm of Bradley Arant Boult and Cummings. It might be the most conservative, corrupt law firm in Alabama--and there is a lot of competition for that "honor." Kallon's background, before becoming a judge, was almost identical to Barker's. He defended employers who discriminate against workers. Just before being nominated to the federal bench, he represented Campus Crest Communities, the Charlotte-based company that has been hit with multiple claims of sex and race discrimination. We already have written quite a bit about sleaze connected to Campus Crest Communities, and its CEO Ted W. Rollins. We will be writing much more. And this is an outfit that Abdul Kallon helped defend.
Joyce White Vance, U.S. attorney, Northern District of Alabama--Vance has worked in the U.S. Justice Department since 1991, but before that, she was an associate at the Birmingham law firm of . . . Bradley Arant. (Are we seeing a pattern here?) For good measure, Vance is married to Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance, and we have presented clear evidence that he is grotesquely corrupt, primarily interested in protecting lawyers who cheat their own clients.
George Beck, U.S. attorney, Middle District of Alabama--Beck is Obama's nominee to replace Leura Canary, the notorious Bush appointee who ramrodded the Don Siegelman prosecution. Given Beck's background, you wonder why Obama would even bother to replace Canary. Beck, like Constance Smith Barker, is from Capell and Howard, the firm known to open its welcoming doors for Karl Rove. During the Siegelman case, Beck represented the government's star witness, Nick Bailey, who largely is responsible for a conviction that runs contrary to clear legal precedent. According to press reports (60 Minutes) and sworn filings by multiple parties, Beck allowed Bailey to be interrogated some 70 times and browbeaten by prosecutors, who repeatedly provided coaching for his testimony. Reports also indicate that prosecutors failed to turn over key evidence to defense lawyers, and Beck apparently allowed this to happen.
Beck's supporters, who seem to consist of Birmingham lawyer G. Doug Jones and a handful of other monied elites, are pulling out all the PR stops to get their guy on the job. (Jones, by the way, apparently became "monied" through his alliance with lawyer Rob Riley, the son of former GOP governor Bob Riley, in a federal lawsuit against individuals and entities connected to HealthSouth Corp.) A piece this week at mainjustice.com presents Beck as a hero of the civil-rights movement. Caution: You might want to have a vomit bag handy before reading this.
Mainjustice did report that Beck has a net worth of $8.6 million, with financial interests in 21st Sentry LLC and Chosen Oils Inc. Sounds like a man of the people, doesn't he?
The bottom line? Obama repeatedly has made appointments in Alabama that help protect our state's elites, the very people who have turned the "Heart of Dixie" into a corrupt cesspool. In Alabama, Obama seems intent on providing "more of the same" and zero "change."