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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Inquiries and Lawsuits for the DOJ

A few days ago, I blogged about a report that the Justice Department had illegally discriminated against liberal applicants to the Honors program. Today, the New York Times reports that the Office of Special Counsel will begin an examination of the DOJ and its hiring practices.

The article also reports that a lawsuit against the DOJ was filed by a former liberal applicant to the Honors program:
Meanwhile, a former Justice Department law clerk who was rejected for a position in the department's elite honors program in 2006 filed a lawsuit on Monday in United States District Court seeking damages of up to $100,000. The former clerk, Sean M. Gerlich, asserts that the department violated his rights.

The lawsuit seeks to establish a class action on behalf of other applicants who also believe they were rejected for political reasons. Daniel Metcalfe, a longtime lawyer at the Justice Department who is representing Mr. Gerlich, said the inspector general's report indicated that as many as 359 applicants for the department's honors and intern program might have been wrongfully rejected in 2006 alone.

In addition to violations of civil service law, which prevents the use of political affiliations in hiring for nonpolitical jobs, the lawsuit charges that Justice Department officials ... violated the privacy rights of applicants by searching the Internet for material about their political philosophies. The inspector general found, for instance, that one applicant was rejected in part because his MySpace page had an unflattering cartoon of President Bush.
Several other lawyers rejected for honors spots said they were also considering lawsuits.
UPDATE: More information on the Gerlich lawsuit is here at law.com.