Gitenstein No Longer Considered for OLP
Mark Gitenstein is no longer being considered for head of the Office of Legal Policy. Despite a strong civil rights record, Gitenstein's recent work lobbying for the Chamber of Commerce was a source of serious concern among many consumer advocates and civil justice groups. Many of these groups organized themselves into a vocal campaign, led by powerhouse Public Citizen, to express their concern with Gitenstein's nomination.
I wrote before that a strong civil rights record, while praiseworthy, is not the be-all and end-all of determining one's fitness for the influential OLP position. Equally important is one's stance on consumer fairness. Indeed:
...binding mandatory arbitration isn’t just a consumer issue. It’s also a civil rights issue. So how can one fully support civil rights without also supporting a person’s ability to enforce those protections in the public court system? Under binding mandatory arbitration “agreements” (although Fonza Luke’s story reminds us that “agreement” is definitely a misnomer) employees’ important civil rights claims are derailed and sent to often bogus “company courts” instead. What’s the point of the law if it can’t be enforced?
Reflecting on the removal of Gitenstein's name from the top of the list of OLP prospects, Ian Millhiser of OverruledBlog states it well:
I hope that Gitenstein’s story scares other ambitious progressives away from lobbying against the American consumer in the future. So many people have told me that Gitenstein is an outstanding individual, which makes his decision to work against arbitration fairness all the more tragic.