Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Illegal hiring practices at the DoJ

The first part of a report that seems to confirm what we've suspected all along about hiring practices at the DoJ during the Bush administration:
Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used “political or ideological” factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.
I'm overjoyed to see that someone is following up on this, but sadly, won't be surprised if no one of consequence is held accountable for it. These days, the most the public can seem to hope for is that the wrongdoings are brought to light. Hoping for the responsible parties to meet with appropriate punishment, however, is far too often all for naught.

Maybe I'll be surprised this time.

As cynical as this administration (and our mostly spineless Democrats) has made me over the last eight years, I can't help but still be royally pissed off at the rough shod that's been run over this country's most essential organizations (DoJ, FEMA, CIA, etc.) and most dearly held rights and ideals. No one is being held accountable. At most, they get a slap on the wrist and a well-paid job with some lobbying firm--which, really, seems to be the new American way. And that's a crying fucking shame, and we need to actually do something about it.

We can never deter everyone from doing anything wrong--that's a pipe dream if ever there was one. Thing is, we've done very little to deter anyone from doing anything wrong. What kind of example is that to set?


John A said...

Interesting. I have trouble getting either surprised by or worked up over this. In a sense, it's a stupid practice, but I don't know that it's all that different from a president nominating a Federal (or Supreme Court) judge who is closely aligned to their political views. (Other than being illegal.)

And I have trouble imagining a Democratic administration wouldn't do the same thing. I can't decide if that's cynicism or not, but I don't think so. I think it's reasonable to expect a politically motivated group (i.e. any government organization) to be staffed in rough accordance with the philosophies of the elected party. It's not a good thing, but it's a reasonable thing.

That said, it is illegal, so there's that. :) But as you point out, a lack of accountability has become standard, and that is the real crime. (Actually, the breaking of the law is the real crime, but you know what I mean...)

Jamie said...

John, you're right that this is hardly surprising - but we should be outraged by the DOJ's illegal vetting of candidates. There are important policy and legal differences between "political" appointments, such as federal judges, cabinet posts, and high-level officials at executive agencies, and entry-level posts in federal government. To exclude highly-qualified candidates based on perceived political views not only violates federal law but is a corruption of the agency. Front-line attorneys at DOJ are expected to provide objective legal advice to their clients, not make policy.

I am the Lewis and Clark law student referenced on page 86 of the report deemed by these dirtbags to have an "environmental agenda." I now work in Madison for Midwest Environmental Advocates, where I fulfill my "agenda" helping rural families and community groups fight polluters.

Emily said...

John - I'm sure it's happened, or been attempted, in the past by both Republican and Democratic administrations, but the Bush admin has gone well beyond the usual and made it systemic (and gotten away with it). This is simply unacceptable, and as broken down as I suspect many of us feel by the regular parade of outrages perpetrated by the current admin., I hope we have the energy left to get up in arms over this.

Jamie - Thanks for chiming in, and good on you for continuing to fight the good fight.

The Lost Albatross