Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DOJ Hiring - What Constitutes Merit?

David Ingram, BLT Blog, Senator Wants Inquiry Into DOJ Civil Rights Hires has an interesting post on a request for an investigation of hiring practices at DOJ.  DOJ hiring practices was an issue in a prior administration (see here, here, and here)(see also The Tainted Federal Prosecutor in an Overcriminalized Justice System). 

But this new request for an investigation seems different.  What was alleged in the past was politicized hiring, something that is clearly improper.  To now call for an investigation merely because folks might have membership in certain groups is different from claiming that folks are hired because of this status.  It does not seem unusual that those seeking to join the civil rights division of the DOJ would have been active in groups that pressed for civil rights in the past.  In fact, such activities (not membership) might add to the qualifications of the individual if they had experience researching, writing, or handling civil rights issues. To think that these activities is a function of just one political party demeans the excluded party.   

Listening (here) and reading (here) the testimony of Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division shows a most impressive record. For example, "[i]n fiscal year 2009, we filed more criminal civil rights cases than ever before, and then exceeded that record in Fiscal Year 2010, filing 125 criminal cases."  He also spoke about the protection being provided to servicemembers from improper foreclsures. I'm impressed.


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