Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Holder's First Day

Eric Holder takes the oath of office today as Attorney General. Congratulations.

If I were him, here's the first thing I'd do: I'd send a memo to all 110,000 employees of the Department of Justice that said, "All hiring for career positions at the Deparment of Justice is to be done strictly on the basis of merit -- no politics. To those of you involved in hiring, this is a directive; to everyone else, it is a pledge."

The previous administration's politicization of career hiring at Justice was, for those of us who are former Justice employees, one of the saddest parts of the whole set of scandals surrounding the Department. It was wrong, it was shameful, and it was unnecessary. The career staff takes direction from the Department's political leaders. Hire good people and they'll get the job done, regardless of party. The new administration should make a clear and public statement that career hiring is to be done on the basis of merit.

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