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Not the Best & Brightest

Thirty years ago the U.S. Department of Justice, and its Honors Program for law school graduates, attracted some of the best-credentialed, smartest and most talented young lawyers around. It made DOJ a plum position for aspiring litigators, where one could "learn by doing" instead of watching others and — despite obvious financial sacrifices — allowed the federal government to recruit from the top law schools in the nation.

But now it seems the Bush Administration has totally politicized the Justice Department. As if firing U.S. Attorneys for political reasons — not being "loyal Bushies" according to internal emails — is not bad enough, now the DOJ Inspector general reports that senior political appointees at Justice have for six years been "using ideological reasons to scuttle the candidacy of lawyers who applied to the elite honors and summer intern programs."  So members of the conservative Federalist Society got a free pass, without the resume to warrant a position, while members of the Nature Conservancy were nixed without consideration at all for being too liberal.

That’s revolting.  It’s truly a sad end to a once impressive agency where I was proud to have stared my own legal career in 1982 after a judicial clerkship.

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