The discriminatory m.o of Bush’s D.O.J.

THE DISCRIMINATORY M.O OF BUSH’S D.O.J…. That this is not surprising hardly makes it any less offensive. (via Faiz Shakir)

Applicants for Justice Department internships and honors programs may have been rejected based on their membership in LGBT groups during the Bush administration, the Blade has learned.

This is clearly consistent with the established record. Remember Leslie Hagen?

Hagen seemed to be exactly the kind of lawyer the Bush gang would want around. She was a respected lawyer, she had impeccable credentials as a Republican, and her performance evaluations at the Justice Department were outstanding. And yet, in October 2006, Hagen was told her contract with the administration would not be renewed. Apparently, Monica Goodling had heard a rumor about Hagen’s sexual orientation.

That, apparently, was enough. As one Republican official at the DoJ conceded, for some Bush political appointees, being gay is “even worse than being a Democrat.” The Justice Department’s inspector general investigated and found that Hagen was, in fact, passed over based on nothing more than office rumors about being a lesbian. Worse, Goodling, a graduate of Pat Robertson’s college, blocked Hagen from being considered from any position, at any level, in the Justice Department.

Fortunately, the Obama administration did right by Hagen, and rehired her to the Department in February.

But the larger point is, if Bush’s DOJ was willing to punish attorneys they thought might be gay, the notion that the department would exclude applicants for internships and honors programs based on membership in LGBT groups was par for the course in the Bush administration.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.