Politics & Media
Jul 16, 2008, 05:33AM

Internship Woes For Left-Wingers

In late June, the Department of Justice confirmed suspicions that political affiliation was used as a factor in the hiring of summer law interns. Individual applicants who were affiliated with Democratic or liberal organizations were not even granted interviews for the program, despite the fact that political ideology was not mentioned in the department's lengthy admission criteria. The practice of political discrimination is immoral and illegal, and these events have created a storm among journalists and the law community.

On June 24, the Department of Justice released a report confirming allegations of politicized hirings in two Justice Department internship programs. The 115-page report from the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility outlines the denial of applicants to sought-after positions in the department's Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program based on political leanings.

The findings come more than a year after the Washington Post reported that political appointees would be removed from the selection process of the programs after complaints to Congress from within the Justice Department, and vindicates years of speculation during the tenure of former Attorneys General Alberto Gonzales and John Ashcroft. The report concludes that applicants were denied interviews based on affiliation with individuals and organizations considered Democratic or left-leaning.

Among the organizations blacklisted by government agencies are three Austin-based groups: the Save our Springs Alliance, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Political Asylum Project of Austin. It's another chapter in the tainted story of the Bush administration's Justice Department, and one that hurts the promising lawyers of our community and reflects poorly on this administration. After the row over politicized firings of seven U.S. Attorneys in 2006, this is a crime the department can hardly brush off.


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