Thursday, September 08, 2005

EVEN THE LAWYER PART ISN'T TRUE: Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has an article in The New Republic demonstrating that Mike Brown's appointment to the FEMA director job was pure old boy network, with not even a minimal pretense to legitimacy. The article can't be accessed without a TNR subscription, but Gary Farber has it covered, with a long quote from the article. The gist is that Mike Brown was not simply the wrong choice for the FEMA spot because he had never worked in disaster management: His claim to being a qualified, competent attorney is now itself in question. The law school he went to, Oklahoma University School of Law, was not accredited by the Association of American Law Schools until 2003; and Brown had all but abandoned the practice of law by 1987, almost 15 years before he was appointed to the position of general counsel at FEMA. Has this sunk in? Michael Brown was appointed to a high-ranking legal position at the nation's disaster management agency, despite not having practiced law professionally for almost 15 years. And then he was appointed director of FEMA despite having misrepresented his credentials as a lawyer and despite having zero experience in disaster management!

Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a mouthful to say about this:

George W. Bush ran for re-election on the premise that he would keep us safe. That he appointed someone like Michael Brown to be Director of FEMA tells us exactly how seriously he took that mission, and exactly how competently he carried it out.

Moreover, this appointment requires Senate confirmation. I have not been able to locate the transcript of Brown's confirmation hearings, but the transcript of the confirmation hearings when he became deputy Director are here. That someone so unqualified was confirmed by the Senate for such an important job also says a lot about the state of congressional oversight of the executive branch at present, and none of what it tells us is good.

Appointing Brown to be head of FEMA was unforgivable, and people have paid for his appointment with their lives.

Via Memeorandum.

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