Justice, Compromised

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau and David Lat, editor-in-chief of the blog Above the Law, explain yesterday's report on the Justice Department's illegal hiring practices, and why the damage extends beyond just a few crestfallen law students.


David Lat and Eric Lichtblau
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Comments [35]

Marion from New Jersey

I am a career employee of the Justice Department. It's critically important that our attorneys are hired based upon merit, not political views. It would be awfully scary if the nation's prosecutors were hired based upon political ideology, whether liberal or conservative. Can you imagine a group of prosecutors dedicated to putting the other side out of commission? Our job is to prosecute people who commit crimes, not pursue ideology. As my (former colleague) David Lat said on the radio program, we federal prosecutors have lots of views, and sometimes argue about them over the lunch table. It's that combination of views that ensures that, collectively, we are fair. If we had been hired based upon our ideology, we would be seen as hopelessly biased, and faith in the justice system would be seriously damaged. Fortunately, as far as I know, the Bush administration's efforts to politicize the Department have not affected the U.S. Attorneys' Offices.

Jun. 25 2008 11:48 PM

30 --

thanks i'll pass on the subprime mortgage that you're shilling from your cube in that "financial services" stand, there next to hardys. at least you have fm reception to tune into talk radio programs and bully these poor posters.

Jun. 25 2008 08:44 PM
Jesse Califano from NYC/ TPA/

Non-discriminatory hiring standards are a little like the invention of 'hollow soap' so that there is not stub left over at the end:
sound right- but in practical application, doesn't work!

Jun. 25 2008 11:09 AM
JT from Long Island

#30 Look in the Mirror,

Don't make assumptions about my status. I do very well for myself and did not go to an "elite" school. I also don't have anything against people that did go to those schools.

Jun. 25 2008 11:08 AM
JT from Long Island


Rehnquist went to Stanford Law School.
Scalia and Roberts went to Harvard Law School.
Thomas and Alito went to Yale Law School.

I fail to see the liberal bias the "elite" schools have. You're just parroting the party line. If you did some real research you might be surprised.

Jun. 25 2008 11:04 AM
Look in the Mirror from Manhattan

#23 JT:

I went to a Non-Ivy and I do VERY well for myself in financial services.

My 'moderate, nmediocre education' (quote) has been good enough to make me rich, so yes I'm quite pleased with it!

Thanks for your special concern though!!!

Oh yeah, while you're here, when you deliver my lunch today, please don't forget to bring extra soy sauce and wasabi.


Stuff White People Like:
#98: The Ivy League
#101: Being Offended
#62: Knowing Whats Best for Poor People
#56: Lawyers
#50: irony
#44: Public Radio
#20: Being an expert on YOUR culture
#18: Awareness
#12: Non-Profit Organizations
#7: Diversity

Jun. 25 2008 11:00 AM
Katie from Forest Hills

Justice is subjective.

Jun. 25 2008 10:59 AM
JT from Long Island

Jesse Califano,

You've got to be kidding. You say that "associating one's self and hiring people based on the LCD pathway to the achievement of non-excellence in any worthwhile pursuit", yet this is exactly the behavior you are defending. The double standard you have is so clear that it's sad you don't see it. Then agin Republicans aren't known to be consistent.

Jun. 25 2008 10:54 AM
Alec from NJ

Admissions and grading at the "elite" law schools is biased towards liberal students. There is very little ideological diversity amongst the professorship in these schools. Grading is subjective and designed to favor certain philosophies of law. How can a conservative ever have a chance at a merit based civil service job if the selection criteria is determined by a liberal academic bureaucracy? The measures the Bush administration took could be considered ideological affirmative action. Don't you think the Clinton's did the same?

Jun. 25 2008 10:51 AM
hjs from 11211

i wonder if obama can rebalance?

Jun. 25 2008 10:50 AM
JT from Long Island

@Jesse Califano,

When Bush and company don't get their way they break the law.

Jun. 25 2008 10:43 AM
Jesse Califano from NYC/ TPA/

America: Equal opportunity- NOT equal outcome!

Associating one's self and hiring people based on the LCD (lowest common denominator- not 'lowest common Democrat'!)- is the pathway to the achievement of non-excellence in any worthwhile pursuit.

It the reason that Mr. Siegal of the ACLU is not appointed to be the Attorney General of the United States of America.

Jun. 25 2008 10:43 AM
JT from Long Island

@Look in the Mirror,

This ranting about elitism is getting old. So you resent people that went to ivy league schools. Apparently a moderate, nmediocre education is good enough for you.

Did you know that Bush went to private prep schools before going to Yale and Harvard? You shouldn't have voted for him since he is one of the elites you hate.

Jun. 25 2008 10:42 AM
Laura from UWS

Question: If "Leftists" were excluded, was the purpose to hobble the Government from advocating for the public interest?

Were lawyers chosen for their willingness to push private agendas such as privatization of government services, "The Jungle" (Upton Sinclair) capitalism, and sectarian religion?

Question: What can WE do about this?

Jun. 25 2008 10:42 AM
Nick Lento

Dear Jesse Califano,

We are a nation of laws. People have rights.

The "screening" you refer to was/is ILLEGAL!!!

It's illegal because, without objective hiring criteria, small powerful groups can subvert democracy and freedom. Those laws protect you and your ideological allies too!

Do you really want to live in a right wing dictatorship? Or a left wing dictatorship?

I assure you, such an outcome (either way) would lead to civil war.

Sorry, as sloppy as it is, democracy is what we have (thank God!) and if you have a problem with should rethink your position.

Jun. 25 2008 10:32 AM
Jesse Califano from NYC/ TPA/

When Republican don't get their way- they move forward and persevere-

When Democrats don't get their way- they sue!

Jun. 25 2008 10:31 AM
hjs from 11211

the night mare is almost over. just say no to bush-mccain

Jun. 25 2008 10:31 AM
Look in the Mirror from Manhattan

'Stanford Law and Harvard Law graduates brought suit'

So, thats what it is. Ivy League'ers didn't get their job right after graduating and are throwing a temper tantrum.

It sounds alot like affirmative action for law school grads...and the ivy's can't stand it!

The irony here is incredible!

Jun. 25 2008 10:27 AM
Nick Lento

Just one more indication of how the Bush administration is undemocratic and un American.

This ALONE is an impeachable offense!

And this is but one of thousands of dirty little things the Bushies have done to subvert democracy in the name of promoting their fixed ideological fanatacism.

Does anyone seriously think we won't have some kind of nasty "surprise" in time to effect the November election?

Jun. 25 2008 10:24 AM
chris o from New York City

Worst. President. Ever. And that is how I felt in 2004. How could I have imagined it would keep getting worse.

Jun. 25 2008 10:21 AM
JT from Long Island

This sounds like affirmative action for the unqualified. Conservatives routinely rail against AA for women and minorities and then set this up so that the most qualified applicants are rejected. At least their hypocrisy is consistent.

Jun. 25 2008 10:20 AM
J.C. from Minneapolis

Re: The caller who perhaps thought that the president should be able to consider lower-level civil service employees' political affiliations.

We had that system pre-1880s or so. People realized that letting presidents kick out lower-level employees because they belonged to the/an opposition party did not produce a competent government bureaucracy. Hence, we got the Pendleton Civil Service Act.

The president's political appointees at the top do (and rightly so) get to set the overall policy, but when it comes to lower-level employees, the big consideration should be competence, not political opinion, which, thankfully, is how the law stands now. It's too bad we have an administration that thinks it can rewrite law at will.

Jun. 25 2008 10:20 AM
Robert from NYC

Well all the little Mussolinis/Bushes that participate here. Interesting!

Jun. 25 2008 10:19 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

why has the original comment #2 in this thread been made to disappear without trace? does this show regularly practice pravda journalism?

Jun. 25 2008 10:19 AM
veronica from manhattan

So who will be taken to task for these illegal hiring practices?

Jun. 25 2008 10:17 AM
Jesse Califano from NYC/ TPA/

Why is this 'screening' is illegal?

I certainly wouldn't want anyone working for me in any capacity (save building maintenance and office cleaning); who actually took the likes of a 'Keith Olberman' seriously!

Jun. 25 2008 10:14 AM
Look in the Mirror from Manhattan

'Political bias in hirings'

And this hasn't gone on both ways?

Sounds to me like Ivy entitlements got their feathers ruffled when they didn't immediately land the job they were after and *gulp* actually had to fight for a job.

Jun. 25 2008 10:13 AM
Robert from NYC

Well this administration has succeeded to cause the collapse of a delicate balanced system that worked for the most part for over 200 years. No one with the power to stop attempted to stop it who knows where it will go from here. Who knows if the new administration will be able to turn it around and reverse the damage within a respectable period of time so as to be able to conduct a government that not only works according to law again but also regain the respect and trust that has been lost among other nations. Everyone from the Congress to the media and even the nation at large is to blame for this. With the exception of few voices, e.g., "bizzare" Dennis Kucinich and his ilk, the majority had allowed this to happen and in history often is what causes despotic and evil people to get control of nations and take them to unnecessary wars that cause damage to cultures and societies touched by the immoral and twisted beliefs of such people in power by usurpation.

Jun. 25 2008 10:13 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Oh - and ask him about all the Regent Law School hires - Pat Robertson's law school!

Jun. 25 2008 10:13 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Nobody could have predicted that a group of sociopathic idealogues would give prestigious positions to other idealogues.

Andrea - ask him if a President Obama can take out the trash and start over.

Jun. 25 2008 10:11 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

"weeding out" is misleading word choice. don't the facts require "discriminating against" or "unlawfully excluding"?

Jun. 25 2008 10:11 AM
chris o from New York City

"Leftists" are weeded out. I think it is fair to say that under their criteria, WNYC membership would qualify one as a leftist - "they listen to public radio, must be a commie".

Jun. 25 2008 10:10 AM
chris o from New York City

If this is a blatant violation of the Hatch Act, is there an investigation into individuals and can people be charged criminally for violating the Act?

Jun. 25 2008 10:09 AM
Robert from NYC

It seems to me that the administration is not above the law, but they get to break the law while they are in power. We need to develop a system to discover these things as they are happening. The administration has too much power if they have a power to do illegal activities and prevent others from discovering them for so long.

Thanks for covering for Brian today Andrea. I am equally excited to hear you host.

Jun. 25 2008 10:09 AM
Dave from Albany, NY

I'm posting this ahead of your broadcast because I heard about it on Keith Olberman's show last night. I'm not at all surprised about this; Bush's promises to be a 'uniter, not a divider' became a sick joke shortly after he assumed office, as he sought to exclude everyone who wasn't in complete lock-step with he policies of the neoconservative religious right wing from government. If the GOP wonders why there's so much voter anger against them this upcoming election cycle, maybe it should meditate on how come they spent so much time making the word liberal a dirty word instead of trying to capture Bin Laden.

Jun. 25 2008 12:52 AM

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