FROM David Bowermaster
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.
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?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.