During the Bush administration, most of the mainstream press did its best to hype one of the must trumped-up federal “scandals” of modern times: political hiring at the Justice Department. The notion that Bush’s Justice Department might be hiring more Republicans and conservatives than Democrats and liberals was treated as a shocking politicization of the legal system.
While the Bush administration did attempt to give its political appointees more control over the hiring at Justice, their efforts to pack Washington with like-minded lawyers differed little from those of the Clinton administration and virtually every other previous administration. Yet the idea that Bush’s Justice Department might be filled with more potential right-wingers than, say, Clinton’s was treated as a shocking ethical violation that demonstrated the utter corruption of his administration worthy of Congressional investigations and outraged editorials from the liberal press.
Fast-forward to 2011. What is going on now at the Justice Department? According to the New York Times, the Obama administration appears to be even more partisan in its hiring practices than Bush’s was. An examination of the resumes of lawyers hired to work in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department revealed that under Bush, a quarter of the new hires had conservative credentials while only seven percent had liberal ties. But during the first two years of the Obama administration, 60 percent of new hires had liberal credentials while the number of those with conservatives ties came in at a big fat zero.
In other words, while being a conservative appeared to give you an edge in being hired by Bush’s Justice Department, since Obama came into office the tables have not only turned (as one might expect) but the system has become utterly rigged. Being a liberal now is now virtually a requirement to be hired at Obama’s Justice while conservatives might just as well not bother.
Any day now the same Democrats who fired up investigations of Bush will jump on these figures. Right? And liberal editorialists, like those at the Times that flayed Bush for the politicized hiring at Justice, will also start inveighing against Obama. Any day now.
Don’t hold your breath.