Monday, June 30, 2008

Make Justice blind again

A rare event happened yesterday.

We actually got a little rain at my house.

That must be why I agree with today's editorial in the Express-News.

It behooves us to make Justice blind again.

Biased recruitment policy taints Justice Department
San Antonio Express-News

In a society that has become as politicized as ours, it may be no surprise that discriminatory hiring practices have been uncovered in the Justice Department.

It would be wrong, however, to let cynicism blind us to the damage partisanship can do in an entity that, above all others, should transcend ideology.

The report, prepared by the inspector general of the Justice Department, found that illegal “political” or “ideological” factors were used in an elite program that recruited young lawyers, according to the New York Times.

Department recruiters, the report noted, selected law school graduates with conservative credentials and passed over those with résumés that sounded “liberal.”

While the inspector general is investigating other issues relating to the politicization of the department, the report concluded that the recruitment policies “constituted misconduct and also violated the department’s policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations.”

Once handled by career officials within the department, political representatives started to take over the recruitment in 2002, a process that accelerated when Alberto Gonzales succeeded John Ashcroft as attorney general, according to the report.

The findings are disturbing, and, if possible, officials responsible should be held accountable.
More than all our others institutions, the judicial system must remain neutral and impartial, untainted by the political motives that drive other departments.

The practice would have been just as reprehensible if a Democratic administration had been carrying it out.

By trying to stack the department with lawyers of similar ideological bents, the political officials insulted the lawyers themselves, for the recruits may have understood a concept that eluded their employers — that justice is blind.

If department officials deprived the country of young, bright legal minds, the country is the poorer for it.