The son also rises

Senate Democrats have denounced the “politicization” of the Department of Justice — both with respect to “political” jobs and, more justifiably, career ones. The MSM was also all over this issue.

Perhaps, then, the MSM will scrutinize the rise of Beau Biden, son of Joe Biden, to a career position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney’s office.

As I understand the facts, Biden, a graduate of Syracuse University law school, began his DOJ career in 1995 in the Office of Policy Development. Two years later, he obtained the far more prestigious and high profile position of Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) in the Philadelphia office. This is a career position, so politics should not come into play in the selection process.

AUSAs litigate cases on behalf of the U.S. government. Thus, I’m told, the credentials normally required of an AUSA for an office like Philadelphia include a few years of successful litigation experience, typically in a state or city DA’s office, or in a litigating division of DOJ, such as the Criminal Division or Civil Division. There, one gains trial experience plus experience dealing with motions. As far as I can tell, Biden lacked litigation experience. The DOJ’s Office of Policy Development is not a litigating division.

The suspicion arises, therefore, that Beau Biden got his AUSA job with the help of his father. It’s only a suspicion, but one that perhaps merits scrutiny from a few of the MSM correspondents currently on assignment in Alaska.

Beau Biden himself appears to be an admirable young man who, for all I know, may have been a fine AUSA. He is now in the JAG and soon will be deploying to Iraq.

But the issue here isn’t really young Biden; it’s his father, the candidate for vice president. If Joe Biden used his political influence (he is, of course, a powerful member of the Senate Judiciary Committee) to help his son land a position he otherwise would not have obtained, then Beau’s elevation reeks of the insider-influence that John McCain is making a centerpiece of his campaign. It also exposes the elder Biden as a hypocrite on the question of the politicization of the DOJ.

UPDATE: Beau Biden apparently failed to pass the Delaware bar exam three times before finally passing in 2001. He did pass the Maryland bar on his first attempt. Typically membership in the bar of the state where the U.S. Attorney’s Office is located is considered desirable, although to my knowledge not a requirement, to be an AUSA. I’ve found no indication that Beau Biden was a member of the Pennsylvania bar.

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