Last week, Monica Goodling revealed that she'd routinely placed Republicans in civil service spots, including immigration judge positions. As she was eventually forced to concede under hard questioning, doing that was against the law.
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But it also became apparent that the practice was nothing new -- and that it dated at least back to 2004, before Goodling got involved. That's how people like Garry Malphrus, a former Brooks Brother rioter with no immigration experience, became a judge.
Today The Legal Times fills in the blanks. And as Jason McLure and Emma Schwartz plainly put it, "As with the replacement of U.S. attorneys, political appointees at the Justice Department appear to have trod upon department norms â and may have even broken federal law â to reward their own people with plum assignments."
The slide began during John Ashcroft's tenure, they report, when Ashcroft's aides got the idea. They went to the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department's internal legal advisor, for the go-ahead. And they got it.
That process of consultation, however, seems to have been oddly casual for such a shift in policy. According to a statement by Monica Goodling's lawyer, Kyle Sampson got an oral opinion from the then-head of the OLC that it was legal.