The Ethics of Discriminating Against Federalist Society Members For Law Firm Jobs

Randy Cohen’s The Ethicist column in the New York Times responds to the following reader question:

While interviewing law students for jobs as paid summer interns and full-time associates for my firm, I noticed several had résumés listing their activities in the Federalist Society. Some of my partners have conservative views similar to those of the society, but I do not. These students’ politics would not affect their professional function, but my review is meant to consider their judgment and personality (though I don’t need to give reasons for the assessments given). May I recommend not hiring someone solely because of his or her politics?

Cohen concludes, fortunately, that the answer is “no.” He then adds this update: “Believing that all the applicants were qualified, but able to hire only a few, this person recommended rejecting each member of the Federalist Society.” Hat tip: ATL.

UPDATE: I urge all Federalist Society members working at law firms to take immediate counteraction. Specifically, if you are reviewing resumes of potential laterals and you come across a resume from Mr. Name Withheld from Greenwich, CT, don’t hire him.