*After eight years of the conservative administration of President George W. Bush, the nation’s first African American Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced last week that he was launching a major effort to reshape the Justice Department and return its focus to the enforcement of traditional civil rights laws. Under President Bush, the enforcement of traditional civil rights laws relating to voting rights and employment and housing discrimination against minorities was virtually abandoned. Instead, the Bush Justice Department focused on religious discrimination, human trafficking and adopted policies which critics say made it more difficult for minorities to vote. In apparent reference to the more right-wing Bush policies, Holder told a news conference last Monday, “I think the wounds that were inflicted on this division were deep, and it will take some time for them to fully heal.” Among those “wounds,” according to a department inspector general report was the Bush administration practice of blocking liberal lawyers from jobs and promotions in the Justice Department. The report found that the administration had violated civil service laws by stacking the department with conservative lawyers who often appeared to be anti-minority. Holder said the department’s Civil Rights Division will refocus on voting rights, housing, employment and banking practices as well as redistricting after the 2010 census. (source: Taylor Media Services)