Q Syndicate✒Jan 19, 2017
Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos is determined to build the best private school system anywhere and to make the public schools pay for it. The nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has made a career of suing to stop the agency from protecting the environment. Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Pudzer is devoted to the Republican theory of boosting the economy by depressing workers' wages.
And then there is Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Trump's choice to head the Department of Justice. Sessions, denied a federal judgeship by the Senate in 1986 over allegations of racist comments, has been a voice against the rights of African Americans, Latino immigrants, and LGBT citizens throughout his Senate career, and a champion of voter suppression.
My cartoon this week alludes to the well-publicized decision by John Ashcroft, George W. Bush's first Attorney General, to cover two statues in the Department of Justice's Great Hall. Spirit of Justice and Majesty of Law are a pair of ten-foot-tall art deco aluminum figures on either side of a podium at the front of the hall; Spirit of Justice is a woman, both arms raised, wearing a toga casually draped over one breast and her opposite hip. Majesty of Law is a man, left arm raised, right arm holding a lit torch, with a small towel protecting his modesty.
Installed in the 1930's, the statues have been a source of irritation for Attorneys General for decades. Titillated news photographers elbowed each other in order to get the angle with Spirit of Justice behind Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese when he released a 1986 report on the deleterious effects of pornography. Meese's successor, Dick Thornburgh, started the practice of renting drapes to cover the statues during formal events; Ashcroft's decision to cover the statues at all times was reversed by his successor, Alberto Gonzalez.