"Politicization" of the Justice Department

According to a recent Justice Department audit, the department deliberately rejected liberal or Democratic applicants because of their political positions. For the Justice Department, this kind of hiring practice is against the law, since it’s supposed to be politically independent.

But don’t Republican Presidents generally appoint Republicans? And don’t Democratic candidates generally appoint Democrats? How many conservative Federalist Society members did Bill Clinton appoint?

Plus, if you want politicization, the Wall Street Journal shows that Bill Clinton took the cake:

“Janet Reno…simultaneously fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in March 1993. Ms. Reno–or Mr. Hubbell–gave them 10 days to move out of their offices.

“At the time, President Clinton presented the move as something perfectly ordinary: ‘All those people are routinely replaced,’ he told reporters, ‘and I have not done anything differently.’ In fact, the dismissals were unprecedented: Previous Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, had both retained holdovers from the previous Administration and only replaced them gradually as their tenures expired. This allowed continuity of leadership within the U.S. Attorney offices during the transition.


“Equally extraordinary were the politics at play in the firings. At the time, Jay Stephens, then U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, was investigating then Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, and was ‘within 30 days’ of making a decision on an indictment. Mr. Rostenkowski, who was shepherding the Clinton’s economic program through Congress, eventually went to jail on mail fraud charges and was later pardoned by Mr. Clinton.


“Also at the time, allegations concerning some of the Clintons’ Whitewater dealings were coming to a head. By dismissing all 93 U.S. Attorneys at once, the Clintons conveniently cleared the decks to appoint ‘Friend of Bill’ Paula Casey as the U.S. Attorney for Little Rock. Ms. Casey never did bring any big Whitewater indictments, and she rejected information from another FOB, David Hale, on the business practices of the Arkansas elite including Mr. Clinton. When it comes to ‘politicizing’ Justice, in short, the Bush White House is full of amateurs compared to the Clintons.”


Under Bush, the Justice Department tried to hire conservatives. Under Clinton, firings of U.S. attorneys took place to save Bill’s political hide. Which is worse?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Judiciary, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.