Landmark Calls For Justice Dept. Investigation Into Former Civil Rights Commissioner Who Refuses To Leave Office

December 19, 2001

CONTACT:Eric Christensen
(703) 689-2370
(703) 689-2373 (fax)

(HERNDON, VA)...Landmark Legal Foundation today asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether former Civil Rights Commissioner Victoria Wilson is violating federal law by refusing to leave office after her term ended on November 29. Landmark has also asked the Justice Department to determine whether Mary Frances Berry, the chairman of the commission, is also violating federal law by assisting Ms. Wilson in her actions.

Ms. Wilson was appointed to the Commission by President Clinton after Commissioner Leon Higginbotham passed away before completing his term of office. President Bush named Peter N. Kirsanow commissioner after Mr. Higginbotham's term ended on November 29. Ms. Wilson has refused to leave office and has been assisted in her efforts by Commission Chairman Berry.

"There’s no such thing as squatter’s rights to federal office," explained Landmark President Mark R. Levin. "When a term of office ends, the person holding that office is out. And Ms. Wilson is no exception to the law. President Bush used his lawful authority to appoint her successor. Landmark is asking the Justice Department to determine the extent to which Ms. Wilson and Ms. Berry may be violating federal law by attempting to prevent Mr. Kirsanow from taking office."

Title 18, Section 912 of the United States Code states that, "Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

Landmark is a public interest law firm with offices in Kansas City, Missouri and Herndon, Virginia. Landmark’s letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft and U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard is available on the Foundation’s website at


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