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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Federalist Thoughts

More happenings on the U.S. attorney front, with the revelation that the Department of Justice maintained spreadsheets containing the names of U.S. attorneys (and U.S. attorney candidates) with a special check-off area noting if they were members of the Federalist Society. Minnesota's new U.S. attorney, Rachel Paulose, had a check next to her name.

The Federalist Society -- a group for conservative lawyers -- has gotten a lot of bad P.R. lately. I saw one press article refer to it as a "secretive" society. I can only speak to my experience with the Minnesota chapter, but these folks seem to be a generally astute set of lawyers and law students who just happen to be conservative in philosophy. I hear -- though cannot confirm -- that some of these folks have actually gone on to live productive lives.

That said, Sen. Amy Klobuchar touched on my major concern, which is that the importance of membership may have been overemphasized. It certainly is not a qualification for being a U.S. attorney -- only an indicator of a conservative outlook. It would be ridiculous to make it a litmus test for service as a U.S. attorney, just as it would be ridiculous for a Democratic administration to make membership in the ACLU a litmus test.


Peter said...

Good post. 'cept that the Federalist Society does not litigate cases like the ACLU does.

When will the "Who Moved Paulose's Cheese" article be posted on Minnlawyer.com?

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Hi, Peter --

You are referring of course to my biweekly editor's column.

This week I take a look at the much-publicized controversy at the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office over the deputies stepping down.

That article should be available on the Minnesota Lawyer website, www.minnlawyer.com, Monday morning. I also may post it here as a free extra for our blog readers.