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Shades of Nixon—A New Enemies List

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24 July 2008, 11:13 AM

Jamie Saul is a young lawyer, a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland and one-time law clerk in the Seattle office of Earthjustice. As he entered his third year of law school, he applied for a position in the Department of Justice in order, as his application said, to "serve as part of the team charged with enforcing the world's most comprehensive environmental laws, and with defending the crucial work of our environmental and resource management agencies," a thoroughly noble sentiment for a lawyer at the beginning of his career.

He didn't get the job.

Imagine his surprise, then, to read a few weeks ago in The New York Times of a report by the Justice Department's inspector general that found a systemic pattern of rejecting not only applicants for the so-called Honors Attorney position that Jamie sought, but also for summer internships based on their perceived pro-environment bias. Indeed, nearly a third of the applicants were rejected for purely political reasons, which is illegal as well as unfair. Any mention of "environmental justice" or "social justice" appeared to be grounds for rejection, as was membership in Greenpeace or work for Earthjustice. Here's Jamie's own account of the episode.

Jamie is doing fine, by the way, working as a staff attorney at Midwest Environmental Advocates in Madison, but he worries. He told me he knows students at Lewis and Clark who are afraid to do public-interest law as students for fear of harming their chances of working for the government one day. Maybe things will change with the next administration.

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading
omegle sohbet

I take your point. I'm not anti-government, quite the contrary, and I certainly agree that reform is what's necessary. The sooner the better.

I work at the DOJ and have written many letters to other government agencies through Earthjustice. So, obviously the DOJ doesn't look too far into people's affiliation with this organization. Before everyone becomes hateful of our own government, or certain entities within the government, our focus should remain on improving the government instead of tearing it down and leaving our country weakened for the other world powers to exploit. I am certainly tired of hearing about decent people becoming discouraged when applying for their government, and I feel this article has only fueled that fire instead of encouraging the good people.

I'm hoping to graduate with a J.D. this January and plan on pursuing environmental law, with the hope that I can afford to pay for our menagerie of rescue animals and a husband and house. That means looking for a governmental job, but this review shocks me! I'd like to argue that discrimination against pro-environmentalists violates the First Amendment, but of course all it violates is good sense, as the rest of the world turns green...

This is exactly the time when we ALL must band together; we must tell our stories; we must share our knowledge
& feelings--face-to-face, heart-to-heart! Do NOT let the out-going Bush thuggery intimidate anyone anymore!
Any Law Firms out there who are hiring social law attorneys, should reach out to the "up-and-coming generation" for interviews!
Don't abandon them. Don't abandon our principles!

It's a sorry state of affairs is probably one of the biggest understatements I could make!! Until the people of this country stand up and start acting like citizens, I don't believe that anything is going to change. Why on earth we have, as a nation, tolerated the travesty and destruction in every aspect of our country, I do not understand. So this is one more terrible but not surprising story that is becoming the norm rather than the exception it ought to exception that should be quickly righted!! We all, including the somewhat idealistic law students mentioned, need to move beyond fear of losing our chances to work for an oppressive government and work toward correcting what makes it so! We need to stop being afraid to rock the boat when it needs to be rocked!....

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