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Only in Washington could an official resign from an office she no longer occupied, but the Bush Administration won't complain anytime soon. Mary Frances Berry, along with Cruz Reynoso, decided to "resign" rather than battle the government in court and possibly against federal marshals, allowing two new Bush appointees to take their seats on the Civil Rights Commission:
Mary Frances Berry, chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, resigned yesterday after more than two decades of criticizing the administrations, both Democratic and Republican, that she served.
Berry, an independent, and Vice Chairman Cruz Reynoso, a Democrat, sent resignation letters to President Bush a day after the White House moved to replace the two. Both had resisted leaving Monday, arguing that their terms would not expire until midnight Jan. 21, 2005. The White House maintained that their six-year terms expired on Sunday, and that they had been replaced.
In brief letters to Bush, Berry and Reynoso said that they believe they still have time left to serve but that it is not worth the fight.
"Given that the conclusion of my tenure is only a few weeks away, a legal challenge would be an unwise expenditure of resources," wrote Berry, a civil rights history professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "Therefore, I am resigning my position as commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights effective immediately."
And so the Berry Era ends at the CRC with a growl, not a roar as she threatened earlier. As I wrote yesterday, Berry's unseemly behavior in defying an appellate court ruling and the language on her appointment from Clinton makes a farce of the mission of her board: enforcing the law. Berry typifies the kind of bureaucrat that we often see in Washington DC, such as J. Edgar Hoover, who see their office as a birthright and refuse to leave quietly and with dignity. Hoover had to be carried out of his office, and it looked like Berry wanted a similar (but much livelier) exit.
So long, Mary Frances, and don't forget to take your baggage with you on your way out.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» And Now For Something Completely Different from Irreconcilable Musings
This morning's Kansas City Star features an article on Gerald Reynolds, President Bush's pick to replace the execrable Mary Frances Berry as chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights. [Read More]
Tracked on December 8, 2004 10:20 PM
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