April 28, 2007

HIRING “SCANDALS” AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Todd Zywicki is far from scandalized:

Oh my goodness–a bust of James Madison in his very office! Gracious, a civil rights lawyer who clerked for Charles Pickering–who “congressional Democrats … contended” was hostile to civil rights (apparently since some congressional Democrats “contended it,” all of his clerks are disqualified from working in the office).

The other example cited in the article seems odd as well–why is it supposed to be a problem that a graduate of Regent Law School might be interested in working on “some religious liberties” cases. Would we be similarly shocked if a minority graduate of Southern Law School, for example, expressed a particular interest in working on Voting Rights cases, or a former intern at a pro-choice organization was interested in reproductive rights cases?

The unintentional irony of this is that these examples are provided as examples of the “nonideological” bona fides of the career lawyers who offered them as examples. The career lawyer who is cited (as well as the authors of the article) seems confident that any right-minded person would shocked and outraged that a lawyer was a member of the Federalist Society and had a bust of James Madison in his office or that one of Judge Pickering’s clerks worked in the civil rights division. . . . But if these are the “smoking gun” examples that are the best ones that career attorneys can offer as conservative ideology run amuck at the DOJ, then it seems to me that this says more about the real biases of the supposedly “nonpolitical” attitudes of DOJs career attorneys and the ideological parochialism of the Washington Post than about some sort of hiring “scandal” at DOJ. If these are the sorts of trivialities that career DOJ attorneys consider to be evidence of an extreme ideological shift to the right at the DOJ, then forgive me for being skeptical that the end result of giving career lawyers a monopoly on hiring for these positions is going to eliminate ideology from the hiring process.

I guess they should have called it a diversity hiring program.