Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2010


In September of 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would not prosecute former DOJ Civil Rights Division official Bradley Schlozman for alleged false statements made during his congressional testimony about personnel actions at DOJ. As many government lawyers will remember, a July 2, 2008, report of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General (hereinafter, the IG's report) found that Schlozman had violated the Civil Service Reform Act when he "considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division." Often after the transition to a new administration, government lawyers wonder if their new boss will be overtly political or if they will be transferred or fired. Most government lawyers inherently understand that while consideration of partisanship is appropriate when hiring for political positions, it is entirely inappropriate for career positions. The experiences of lawyers in the Civil Rights Division should serve as a powerful lesson to governmental agencies across the country about when it is permissible to consider political patronage for employment purposes.