Esther Slater McDonald’s job at the Department of Justice was to Google “social justice.”
It’s summer, so we’re on the summer schedule. Dinner is later than usual. Anne and I take Ulysses on a long evening walk. We get back to the house around 9PM.
Last night when we got home I flipped on the TV and put on Keith Olbermann. It’s not exactly Top Chef, but there was nothing else on.
Olbermann was doing a report on the scandal at the Bush Department of Justice. The basic story is that under the Bush boys at the DOJ, they had a Black List. They wouldn’t hire liberal, progressive and Leftist lawyers. I’m not exactly shocked by this. It’s the kind of story you hear, laugh and mutter “assholes.”
But as I listened, the story suddenly got a little more interesting. It has a six degrees of separation to it.
The report is particularly critical of a low-ranking Justice Department lawyer named Esther Slater McDonald, who abruptly resigned from the DOJ last year on the same day that investigators from the Inspector General’s office were scheduled to interview her. She turned down all subsequent interview requests.
The investigators report that McDonald was hired as a political appointee at the Justice Department just three years out of law school. She was assigned to work on the screening committee for the Honors Program and the internship pool, and promptly began doing computer searches on the candidates “for organizations to which candidates belonged,” the report states. In a Nov. 29, 2007 email, McDonald blackballed three candidates “based on her objections to the candidates’ ideological affiliations,” the IG writes. She wrote despairingly in the email of Greenpeace and another group which “increased affirmative action,” and described one applicant’s essay as “filled with leftist commentary and buzz words like ‘environmental justice’ and ‘social justice.’ ” She also wrote: “Leftists usually refer to achieving ‘social justice’ or ‘making policy’ or anything else that involves legislating rather than enforcing.”
Under Justice Department regulations and civil service law, it is improper to consider politics or political affiliation when hiring for DOJ career positions, such as the Honors Program and the intern program.
Esther Slater McDonald’s job at the DOJ was to do a Google search of lawyers’ names to see if the words “social justice” came up. Fantastic!
And the six degrees of separation? Well, yes. If I was a lawyer I couldn’t get a job at the DOJ. Something I’m proud of, actually. But that’s not it.
McDonald works now as an attorney in private practice, at the Seyfarth Shaw law firm in Washington, DC. She would not comment on the IG report, when contacted by NBC News.
When Esther Slater McDonald resigned in disgrace from her job at DOJ, she got a job at the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw.
Hey! I know Seyfarth Shaw. That’s the law firm that represents our Board of Ed. Their lawyer sits at the negotiation table opposite us. That lawyer isn’t Esther Slater McDonald, but still. I’ve even been to their Chicago offices. Seven floors of a new skyscraper in downtown Chicago. One floor is devoted to conference rooms with young boys in black pants, black shirts and blue tooth headsets running around serving you mineral water.
Tax money well spent. Good bunch of folks over there at Seyfarth Shaw. Esther must feel at right at home.