Jul 28, 2008

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Graduating from a good law school with strong grades and other top credentials hasn't meant much to the hiring officials at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Rather, being "pro-God" and "pro-marriage" has been a better way to snag a position with the federal government, according to a report out today that investigated the DOJ's hiring practices.

The New York Times says that senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law by hiring applicants based on political affiliation, and that the head of this operation was former White House liaison for the Justice Department Monica Goodling.

Goodling is a graduate of Regent University School of Law, a school founded by televangelist Pat Robertson in 1986. The vision of the school is to transform "society by affirming and teaching principles of truth, justice and love as described in the Holy Scriptures, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ and enabled through the power of the Holy Spirit."

That vision seems to fit right in line with that of President George W. Bush's "faith-based" vision for our country. Not surprisingly, since Bush took office in 2001, 150 Regent alumni were hired into federal government positions.   Prior to this, it was rare for Regent graduates to join the federal government, according to The Boston Globe. The school ranks in the lowest tier of law schools in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

"When the Bush administration came to power, it looked to Regent for a reliable pool of well-groomed Republican ideologues eager to wage the culture war from the inside," the Huffington Post wrote.

From the inside, Goodling shaped the DOJ to conform to Bush's religious-political ideals. Today's  report shows Goodling would ask questions in interviews with candidates for non-political positions about why they wanted to serve President Bush, why they were Republicans and who, besides Bush, they admire as public servants.

This type of questioning is banned under both civil service law and the Justice Department's own internal policies, The Times says.

The Times also noted that Goodling did not hire a female prosecutor because she believed she was a lesbian. Goodling conducted Internet searches, looking for key phrases such as "abortion" or "homosexual," in order to discover the political and ideological affiliations of job candidates.

Regent no longer publicizes on its Web site the success rate of its alums being hired into federal government positions under the Bush administration. This is probably because Goodling has brought negative attention to the school since her resignation following the politically motivated firings of nine U.S. attorneys, which incited this investigation into the DOJ's hiring practices.

Robertson's Regent University, according to its Web site, was founded to provide "Christian leadership to change the world." Apparently, to some, "changing to world" requires discriminating against anyone who doesn't support the views of the Religious Right and George W. Bush.