Times 'Ethicist' Tackles 'Radio Blowhards' and 'Tea Party Crackpots'

In his Sunday magazine column, the Times' liberal "Ethicist" Randy Cohen handled the case of a censorious Greenwich, Conn. lawyer looking to justify excluding conservative law students from his firm's internship program:

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 made the right reply ("You may not") but didn't resist a paranoid political jab in the second paragraph of his response:

I am tempted to believe that those whose politics differ from mine lack "judgment and personality" and taste in clothes and finesse on the dance floor. But this proposition is unsupportable. As to judgment: politics is famously a subject about which honorable people differ. As to personality - whatever that means - even in an era when radio blowhards fulminate and Tea Party crackpots threaten violence against their political foes, it is possible to disagree with civility. You must abandon your mini-McCarthyism and cease denying employment to those you deem politically misguided.