Many job seekers would love to work as lawyers for the federal government but haven’t had luck landing a position. Openings for attorneys on USAJOBS attract hundreds of applicants. In light of massive law-firm layoffs and the relative stability of government employment, high demand for federal jobs is unsurprising. You have to be a positively brilliant lawyer to land a government gig these days.
Or not. If you’ve applied to the U.S. Department of Justice without success, ask yourself: Do I have a normal or above-normal IQ?
If you do, you might be… overqualified. From a Justice Department job posting (emphasis added):
The Civil Rights Division encourages qualified applicants with targeted disabilities to apply. Targeted disabilities are deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental retardation, mental illness, severe distortion of limbs and/or spine.
Quips former DOJ lawyer Ty Clevenger: “Having worked there, I think CRD has plenty of mentally retarded lawyers already. Mostly in supervisory positions.”
Says another tipster who brought this to our attention: “I understand how you can have a few missing limbs or be partially paralyzed and still be a trial lawyer, but someone with an IQ less than 70?!?!!?”
Recruiting mentally retarded lawyers to litigate civil rights cases for the DOJ may take the expression “good enough for government work” too far. But, in fairness, there is a caveat to all of this….
The caveat is that the applicant, mentally retarded or not, still has to be able to do the job:
Applicants who meet the qualification requirements and are able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation are encouraged to identify targeted disabilities in response to the questions in the Avue application system seeking that information.
So including this equal opportunity boilerplate might not mean much as a practical matter, since a retarded lawyer is probably unable “to perform the essential functions of the position.”
Still, encouraging retarded people to apply to serve as Main Justice lawyers seems a bit strange (and silly). We agree with Hans A. von Spakovsky, writing over at The Corner:
It is one thing to accommodate those with illnesses that do not otherwise render them unfit to serve in a highly demanding and elite corps of DOJ attorneys; but to seek out those who are “mentally retarded” for special consideration is certainly novel.
“Certainly novel” is putting it charitably. The idea of recruiting mentally retarded lawyers to safeguard our civil rights is — to put it bluntly, in Rahm Emanuel’s words — “f**king retarded.”
P.S. We intend no disrespect to the mentally disabled.
Some of our best friends are retarded. One of our first cousins suffers from mental retardation. We find retarded people to be very lovable; we just don’t think the DOJ needs to recruit them as attorneys.
Civil Rights Division, Voting Section: Trial Attorney, GS-14/15 [U.S. Department of Justice]
‘Amateur Night’ at the Justice Department [The Corner / National Review Online]
Obama chief of staff’s ‘retarded’ insult brings fallout, Palin criticism [Yahoo! News]