Justice Department Skews Recruits

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The Justice Department illegally used "political or ideological"criteria to recruit new attorneys, preferring law school graduates withconservative leanings rather than liberal-sounding ones, the JusticeDepartment's inspector general reported today. The report, written inresponse to the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, found that "manyqualified" candidates were rejected because of their perceived liberalbeliefs, and concluded that this hiring practice "constitutedmisconduct and also violated the department's policies and civilservice law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on politicalor ideological affiliations."
    The inspector general's reportfound that the discriminatory practices began in 2002, whenthen-Attorney General John Ashcroft gave political appointees in theJustice Department more control over hiring. It found that this trendaccelerated in 2006 under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and thatthe practice was particularly severe in the civil rights division.

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