The Justice Department has set race discrimination cases on the back burner to pursue claims by religious groups that their rights have been violated, the Times reports. Bush administration attorneys have intervened spiritedly in protecting churches and synagogues from zoning committees, for instance, but slashed lawsuits on behalf of minority voters.
At the same time, seasoned civil rights attorneys have been shuffled aside to make way for lawyers with better spiritual credentials, known as "holy hires." Legal analysts say the focus on faith is a Bush invention. "No one had ever considered it to be of the same magnitude as race or national origin,” one Justice watcher says.