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Paid by the word?

Attention has focused recently on the once-obscure Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Justice Department.  According to the Washington Post, the operation generates advice that “guides some of the government’s most sensitive and controversial policies.”

Unfortunately, the good stuff is not released to the public, including memos on such hot button topics as interrogation and warrantless eavesdropping.

What we get to read are memos like this one — lengthy analysis on why the oath of office for postal workers is not an undue burden on religious principles.

Apparently, some new hires at the post office object to supporting, defending, and pledging faith and allegiance to the Constitution.  The 17-page (single-space) memo concludes that no religious accommodations are warranted by that language.

Interest groups are bombarding President-elect Barack Obama with advice on how to rework the Office of Legal Counsel.  Maybe someone should suggest tightening up the prose a bit.

By Peter Vieth

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