With Tom Perez, former head of the civil rights division at Justice now moving to be secretary of Labor, the question is: Who will head Justice’s civil rights division?
The answer for the short term — and we’re hearing likely to be nominated for the long term — is Joycelyn Samuels, who’s been the principal deputy assistant attorney general in that division for the past four years.
Before that, Samuels had been vice president for education and employment for nearly eight years at the National Women’s Law Center.
Samuels is stepping in at a very tough time. Demonstrations around the country are pressing the department to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — something current and former Justice officials said could be extremely difficult and perhaps impossible.
Meanwhile, Perez has tapped Xochitl Hinojosa, a former press aide at the Justice Department and more recently communications director for Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) — and once featured in a Washingtonian fashion gallery — to be the labor department spokesperson.