Chalk One Up for The Good Guys
After reading this Bench Conference post last week, Justice Department officials conceded defeat and reinstated traditional hiring policies for baby lawyers and interns. No? Okay, how about this. Bowing to political reality, caught red-handed trying to further politicize the Department of Justice, and unwilling to give further ammunition to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales' growing number of critics, partisan loyalists at Justice decided the fight over who gets to pick the summer interns and how just wasn't worth fighting at this time.
Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein over the weekend reported that: "The Justice Department is removing political appointees from the hiring process for rookie lawyers and summer interns, amid allegations that the Bush administration had rigged the programs in favor of candidates with connections to conservative or Republican groups, according to documents and officials.... Justice officials strongly deny that political or partisan factors play any role in who is chosen for the two programs. But they acknowledged yesterday that the involvement of political appointees helped feed suspicions that the process had been tainted. 'The Justice Department does not, nor has it ever, solicited any information from applicants . . . about their political affiliation or orientation,' said Justice spokesman Dean Boyd. But, he added, the changes 'should further improve the process and eliminate even the perception of any political influence.' Ya think? It's rare these days to see public officials quickly rescind an obviously bad decision-- so let's all be grateful that it occurred in this case. Too bad it didn't happen in time to save the Attorney General from getting heckled at his 25th reunion at Harvard Law School.
Speaking of getting heckled, let me for a moment mention Ruben Navarrette, Jr, who as near as I can tell is the only person in America who is still willing to try to argue that Gonzales is a victim not of his own colossal failings but of an media conspiracy. Before the Attorney General's horrible performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee a few weeks ago, Navarrette blasted "weak-kneed" conservatives like Newt Gingrich (I am sure Gingrich is as surprised as you are to hear that he is "weak-kneed) for withholding their support for Gonzales and then argued that it was perfectly understandable for the Attorney General to be holed up with Republican officials for a few weeks "practicing his testimony" before the Committee. After the hearing? If Navarrette is still shilling for Gonzales, I haven't seen evidence of it online (help me out if you find anything).
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