Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tipping the Scales of Justice

On April 10, Josh Marshall added a new post to his blog talkingpointsmemo.com on the unfolding Justice Department scandal. Marshall highlighted new aspects of the Department’s initiative to consolidate and politicize its power. Marshall wrote, “in addition to the no-senate-confirmation provision in the revised USA Patriot Act, there's also a new provision allowing the Attorney General to waive the residency requirements for US Attorneys. So the US Attorney for, say, Omaha can do his job from Washington, DC.” The Justice Department and its political allies have argued that none of the department’s actions have been political. However, the firings, the lack of senate confirmations, and the use of out-of-state U.S. Attorneys paint a very different picture.

The initial story of the U.S. Attorney firings was broken in large part due to the work of talkingpointsmemo.com’s sister site tpmmuckraker.com. Bob Garfield on NPR’s On the Media spoke with tpmmuckraker.com's Paul Kiel last month about his early newsbreaking coverage of the scandal and the role the blogosphere plays in modern politics. Kiel summed up the significance of this scandal and why it is important for the public to be aware of it. “One of the points that comes out of this scandal is that once you see that the rule of law is not the rule of the Justice Department, that prosecutors are being viewed in a political light, every decision becomes suspect,” said Kiel.

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