I spent several years at the Justice Department, including as Ed Meese’s chief of staff. The career lawyers are clearly more liberal than not, from the Civil Rights Division to the Criminal Division. And it is a difficult problem for any conservative attorney general who seeks to change department policy. Janet Reno spent nearly eight years at Justice’s helm. I may have missed it, but was there a report issued about her hiring practices? How about at any of the other departments under Clinton? The idea that conservatives are, in large numbers, infiltrating the federal bureaucracy, is, at a minimum, counterintuitive. When I was deputy solicitor at the Interior Department in the Reagan administration, our policy initiatives were constantly thwarted by long-time “civil servants” who had squirreled themselves into the bureaucracy, some of whom went back to the Johnson administration. They had an extremely cozy relationship with several top congressional Democrats, including Rep. George Miller — who came to office while still in his twenties during the Watergate electoral blowout and is one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s closest allies. The Left has a critical ally in the federal bureaucracy — they know it and we know. That’s why they want more of it and we (or most of us) don’t.
UPDATE: Glenn Fine is the inspector general of the Justice Department. He was nominated by Bill Clinton and confirmed in the closing hours of his administration. We graduated from the same high school — Cheltenham High School outside of Philadelphia. Fine went on to graduate from Harvard College and Law School. He became an assistant U.S. attorney and subsequently served in other legal posts. But I remember him as a liberal Democrat in high school and expect he still is. His wife clerked for Harry Blackmun and, according to wikipedia, Blackmun co-officiated his wedding. As best I can tell, Fine has not allowed his politics or ideology taint his work. But the Bush administration gets no points for holding over Clinton appointees, and I doubt Barack Obama will holdover many Bush appointees no matter how good they may be — and nobody will much care. Nor will they much care when he fires all 93 U.S. attorneys and sweeps through the rest of the bureaucracy installing loyalists in political and non-political jobs.