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Politicizing justice

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An internal report says the U.S. Justice Department denied employment to top law students because they were liberals or perceived to be so.

This clearly makes the case for continuing congressional investigations into other allegations of a Justice Department that put politics above justice in this administration. Congress must get to the bottom of whether U.S. attorneys were fired for political reasons in 2006 and whether Justice railroaded former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman into a bribery conviction the same year.

The new report indicates that such inquiries are less witch hunts than cases of fire indeed being present where there's smoke.

The report by the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility showed that two Bush appointees had hijacked the hiring process to screen newly graduated law students and intern prospects for political purity.

The old process had been to rely on such quaint standards as grades, law school quality and resumes and experience.

The inspector general also is investigating the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and whether a Justice official applied politics when considering immigration judges and others. Congressional inquiries must continue nonetheless.

Congress already has sued in federal court to force the testimony of former White House counsel Harriet Miers in the U.S. attorneys' case. It also is seeking documents from White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.

Alberto Gonzales resigned last year amid allegations that he stonewalled Congress in the matter of the fired U.S. attorneys. This initial report indicates that fears of this administration politicizing what shouldn't be are not groundless.

Reprinted from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.



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