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DOJ Political Bias Lawsuit Followup

Last June, news emerged that the Department of Justice applied a political litmus test to screen candidates for its honors programs, rejecting those whose résumés or Web sites suggested liberal leanings. Eight jilted applicants have since filed a class action, alleging that DOJ improperly relied on politics in making hiring decisions and violated privacy laws by culling information from applicants' Web sites without disclosing that it had collected this information, as required by federal law. The National Law Journal carries the full story.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., heard oral argument on the DOJ's motion to dismiss the suit. DOJ lawyer John Tyler acknowledged that the hiring scandal marks "a dark chapter in the department's history." However, he argued that the court should dispose of the case because the plaintiffs failed to exhaust their remedies under the Civil Service Reform Act, which required plaintiffs to first bring their claims to the Office of Special Counsel. In response, plaintiffs' lawyers argued that bringing the case to the Office of Special Counsel was "utterly unrealistic" and that the Civil Justice Reform Act did not contemplate the unique situation presented by the case.

A ruling on the motion is expected within a month.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on August 19, 2009 at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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