FROM David Becker
Partisan Politics and the Administration of Justice Last year, the Boston Globe reported that former Attorney General John Ashcroft changed the process for hiring new attorneys for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division , which handles sensitive issues, including racial discrimination, employment opportunity and voting rights. The potential for political interference in the division is greater than in other areas of federal law. In previous administrations--Democrat and Republican--career jobs had been handled by civil servants. Ashcroft assigned that task to political appointees, a move that has reportedly changed the division dramatically. Now the focus is on the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales , who is headed back to Capitol Hill to answer some controversial questions: Have federal prosecutors been hired for their legal experience or their Republican leanings? Were legal cases either filed or ignored because of their likely influence on close elections that determined the balance of Congressional power? We hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage and Justice Department veterans on both sides of issues that go to the heart of Constitutional democracy.
Border security and campaign promises President Trump has promised tightened borders and a big beautiful wall. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at two tent-poles of the President's immigration policy: extreme vetting of visa applicants and building the US-Mexico border wall.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."