Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Former U.S. Justice Department official Monica Goodling has received a public reprimand from the Virginia State Bar for her role in unlawfully mixing political considerations and hiring decisions in the George W. Bush administration.
What should the public take from this farcical outcome? We can think of at least two key points:
* President Barack Obama might have secured a sense of justice regarding Osama bin Laden, but Americans should be deeply concerned about the administration's efforts to provide cover for Bush-era bad actors.
* State bar associations, in too many cases, are incapable of policing rogue lawyers--and the public should have little, if any, confidence in these organizations. Can state bars be inconsistent? We are aware of a case in Alabama, which we soon will be covering in depth, where a lawyer received a one-year suspension for making statements in court documents that proved to be . . . absolutely true. In fact, the opposing party admitted the statements were true, but the lawyer still faces a one-year suspension. And Monica Goodling gets a public reprimand for helping to befoul our federal justice department? Do legal watchdogs expect to be taken seriously?
Why did a subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar even bother to slap Goodling on the wrist? Legal Times reports:
The subcommittee found that Goodling violated a bar rule against misconduct when she "improperly utilized political affiliation and other political considerations when making hiring decisions for career positions." Goodling admitted to doing so while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee under oath in May 2007, the order says.