Bush Administration Officials Bar Lawyer Applicants on the Basis of Political Beliefs

An inspector general report has found that the Bush Justice Department barred applicants on the basis of their political views. It is further proof of the open politicalization of the Justice Department by the Bush Administration, including selections for the honors program — long treated as completely apolitical.

Where Monica Goodling was the prior culprit of the politicalization of the department, this scandal has Esther McDonald, who abruptly resigned when asked to answer questions. Only three years out of law school, McDonald was put on the committee to approve nominees. She researched honors program candidates for political affiliation and rejected anyone who used such terms as “environmental justice” and “social justice.”

For the full story, click here and here.

14 thoughts on “Bush Administration Officials Bar Lawyer Applicants on the Basis of Political Beliefs”

  1. “As I have said repeatedly here, it’s not acceptable for this administration to ’slip outta town’, unscathed, for this nor the series of other ‘alleged’ crimes against the United States.”

    Ah… Nancy Pelosi.

    Guardian of the Constitution par excellance.

  2. My point is that what should be Front Page News is that we have not resolved the most obvious round of ‘politicization’ ie where Monica Goodling, under an immunity deal, admitted to having ‘crossed the line’ polically at DOJ, in supporting the Bush agenda with respect to new lawyer hires, which ultimately led to the nine(9) US Attorney firings and their questionable replacement – midterm.

    As I have said repeatedly here, it’s not acceptable for this administration to ‘slip outta town’, unscathed, for this nor the series of other ‘alleged’ crimes against the United States.

    My patience is running thin with the fact that it’s almost July and we have nothing on the books to show for all levels of aggravation, particularly the repeated assaults upon the Constitution and our republican form of government perpetrated at the hands of the Bush Administration for nearly eight years years.

    Enough already. I expect accountability.

  3. Patty C:

    It’s front page news, but it’s only the District Court level, and any adverse ruling will surely be stayed during the inevitable appeal. Interesting, but probably not ripe for JT commentary until at least the DC Circuit Court of Appeals gets it, but who knows JT may deem it worthy now. We’ll just see.

  4. Hah! – loaded question, Jill… 😉

    He looked and seemed fine on KO last night, and is scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee today.

  5. Patty C wrote:
    Front Page News type material right here, rafflaw. It’s the end of June, already. Where’s JT?

    GOOD question! I’ll relax more when I see his first post after giving his testimony.

  6. That’s been obvious for quite sometime AND with everything else going on, it’s more important than ever that these matters, and others, proceed unobstructed and at something better than a snail’s pace, wouldn’t you agree?

  7. Dundar,
    It is a real shame that you are either so partisan that you overlook facts or maybe you just don’t understand. The attorney positions we are talking about are not political appointments. Every administration has their political appointments, but not even Robert Kennedy politicized the rank and file as this administration has done. If you have evidence of Robert Kennedy doing this, share it with the class.
    Patty C.
    The Bush administration is playing out the clock and they may get away with it.

  8. Front Page News type material right here, rafflaw. It’s the end of June, already. Where’s JT?


    Judge challenges Bush’s immunity claim
    Privilege asserted for top advisers
    By James Rowley
    Bloomberg / June 24, 2008

    A US judge voiced doubts yesterday about President Bush’s assertion that his top advisers are completely immune from being forced to testify before a House panel investigating the firing of federal prosecutors.

    US District Judge John Bates repeatedly challenged an administration lawyer to cite legal justification for the refusal of former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten to obey subpoenas to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.

    The panel in Washington sought testimony and documents from Miers about whether White House aides orchestrated the nine dismissals for improper political motivations, such as to spur prosecution of Democrats or protect Republicans.

    Bolten was subpoenaed to produce documents.

    “There is no case that supports the absolute immunity proposition that you have before the court,” Bates told Carl Nichols, the principal deputy associate attorney general. Cases cited by the government “seem to support something less than an absolute immunity,” the judge said.

    Bush has asserted executive privilege in refusing to allow top aides, including his former political strategist Karl Rove, to testify before Congress about the US attorney dismissals.

    The House went to court in March for an order to force Miers and Bolten to appear before the committee after the Justice Department refused to criminally prosecute them for contempt of Congress.

    Irvin B. Nathan, the House’s general counsel, argued that Miers was required to at least appear before the committee and invoke Bush’s executive-privilege claim on a question-by-question basis. That would give the committee – and possibly the courts – the ability to weigh the panel’s need for information against Bush’s confidentiality claims, he said.

    The case may be the biggest test of a presidential assertion of executive privilege since President Nixon refused to turn over tapes of recorded Oval Office conversations to a federal grand jury investigating Watergate.

    The Supreme Court in that case recognized a qualified privilege that was overcome by the grand jury’s need for information about a criminal investigation that could influence decisions about whether to prosecute government officials for crimes.

    “You would transform it, would you not, into an absolute privilege” by top aides to refuse to answer questions from Congress, Bates asked Nichols. Such an assertion would leave Congress and the courts unable to address the merits of the privilege claim, the judge said.

    During a three-hour argument, Bates also suggested that he might order more negotiations between Congress and the White House over the production of documents after Nichols conceded the Bush administration was only asserting a “qualified privilege” to turn over documents.

    A more detailed description of the types of documents Bush sought to withhold from Congress “would be very helpful to the kind of accommodation process” that would avoid a court fight, the judge said.

    In February, the House voted 222-30 to hold Bolten and Miers in criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoenas to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the dismissals.

    A month later, the House filed a civil suit to enforce the subpoena after Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey refused to seek criminal prosecutions for the failure of Bolten and Miers to obey the subpoenas.

    Noting that any decision is likely to be appealed, Bates said the subpoenas would expire when a new Congress takes office in January, when there would also be a new president.

  9. Rob,

    What is it about social and environmental justice that seems wrong to you?

  10. Like the Robert F Kennedy justice department or any before or after that didn’t do the same darn thing.

    I am shocked, SHOCKED that politics is being played out every 4 years in the Justice Department WHETHER THE PRESIDENT IS A DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN.


  11. …rejected anyone who used such terms as “environmental justice” and “social justice.”

    I am hardly a fan of the Bush Administration (I think 99.9% of Washington officials are quislings, at the least,) but frankly I’d be looking twice at candidates who use terms like those, myself.

  12. Well, if you’re hiring consigliere for the mob, you’d better value loyalty over competence, ethics, and independent thinking.

  13. Standard operating procedure for the Bush White House. They have politicized the very core of our government and they are still trying to hide their crimes by stonewalling congressional investigations and buying Democratic Senators and Congressmen to get their retroactive immunity. There is nothing that they won’t do to get the power that they crave and to hide their crimes. This latest example of the Bush regime politicizing the Justice Department should be front page news in every newspaper and be on every TV news cast, but where is it? This is the type of person who is “choosing” our impartial U.S. Attorneys. This is criminal.

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