WASHINGTON (CN) – Top-ranked law school graduates whom the Department of Justice refused to hire for political reasons, as documented by the DOJ Inspector General’s recent report, demand $100,000 damages for each injured class member, plus declaratory and injunctive relief. The federal complaint claims about 190 prospective attorneys and 170 prospective interns were injured in 2006 alone.
Named plaintiff Sean Gerlich, a U.S. citizen who now lives in Belgium, says he and other highly qualified graduates of “top-tier law school(s),” were not hired in the Justice Department’s Honors Program, for attorneys seeking careers in the Department of Justice, because of ideological bias against applicants with presumed “liberal” tendencies.
Gerlich, who graduated in 2006, claims the illegal bias against him in the Justice Department’s Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program was carried out “primarily [through] Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General Michael J. Elston, Deputy Associate Attorney General Esther S McDonald, and – to a lesser extent – Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management Director Louis DeFalaise, under the supervision on Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, and Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Gregory G. Katsas”.
Gerlich says his application for the Honors Program “was denied, without so much as an interview.”
He cites the June 24 OIG report, “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring in the Department of Justice Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program,” and the 2007 congressional testimony of former Justice Department political aide Monica M. Goodling, to claim the hiring process, “in the words of a principal malefactor in the process, former Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General Michael J. Elston, to ‘have been “Monica-ized.”‘”
“In fact, defendant’s Inspector General and Counsel for Professional Responsibility jointly found that nearly 190 Honors Program applicants and 170 Summer Law Intern Program applicants in 2006 had their applications rejected amidst a blatantly politicized process”.
He claims that the class’s privacy was violated on a wholesale bases, as “the process’s other principal actor, former Deputy Associate Attorney General Esther S. McDonald, engaged in the prohibited practice of conducting Internet searches for information of a ‘political’ or ‘ideological’ nature to use against the granting of applications … and that she actually had gone so far as to create and maintain ‘printout’ records of such Internet searches for ‘attach(ment) to the candidate’s application.'”
He demands class damages for violations of the Privacy Act, the Civil Service Reform Act, and the First and 14th Amendments.
The class is represented by Daniel Metcalfe.