Posted by: Shaun | June 25, 2008

Ideology Trumps Talent at DOJ

A new report out of the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice derides what it alleges were illegal hiring practices that applied a political litmus test to applicants for the DOJ’s elite honors program for law school graduates as well as student internships.  The New York Times has details:

The report […] portrays a clumsy effort by senior Justice Department screeners to weed out candidates for career positions whom they considered “leftists,” using Internet search engines to look for incriminating information or evidence of possible liberal bias.

One rejected candidate from Harvard Law School worked for Planned Parenthood. Another wrote opinion pieces critical of the USA Patriot Act and the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. A third applicant worked for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and posted an unflattering cartoon of President Bush on his MySpace page.

Another applicant, a student at the top of his class at Harvard who was fluent in Arabic, was relegated to the “questionable” pile because he was a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that advocates civil liberties. And another rejected candidate said in his essay that he was “personally conflicted” about the National Security Agency’s program of wiretapping without warrants.

This news should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the escapades of the Bush Justice Department.  From the improper firing of U.S. Attorneys who refused to carry out political hit jobs against Democrats, to shoddy legal justifications for the torture of detainees, to blatant political prosecutions; they’ve done it all.  When one considers the larger picture, it makes perfect sense that this grand amalgamation of political hackery would prosecute a case like this, for example:


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