Anonymous User wrote:
A quick question regarding JAG eligibility:
A lot of the legal work I have engaged in concerns the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights, and other work indicates a clear political affilation. I have worked with several LGBTQ+ legal services agencies, and I have served as a law clerk with a political organization. I also hold ongoing and prominent leadership positions associated with these affiliations.
Could including these on my application be severely prejudicial? I'm obviously proud of the work I've done and would like to say as such during the application process, but I hate the idea of being passed up for my affiliations.
Should I even be worried about this at all?
Active duty Air Force SJA who conducts applicant interviews here.
Short answer - no, I wouldn't worry about this . . . much.
Officially, there would never be any discrimination for anything like this, of course. We recruit at the Lavender Law Conference, for example (https://lgbtbar.org/annual/2018-sponsor ... -sponsors/
). Air Force JAGs have a wide variety of political backgrounds, even though I'm sure we trend toward the overall Air Force officer homogeny that you can imagine.
Our selection boards consist of several JAGs in a room, and they discuss applicants' packages. If there is a wide disparity in judges' scores for an applicant, that has to get resolved through discussion. It would be highly unlikely to have all of the judges tank your application because of political affiliation (though not impossible, I guess). A score that was way out of bounds for your application package would be tough to defend to other JAGs. So I think the selection board would be the toughest place for any discrimination to creep in.
It might creep in with the SJA interviewing you. Our reports are extremely important to your chances of success, and yes, we could tank an applicant we didn't like even by just toning down the praise. The good news is that most SJAs conducting interviews are truly trying to do the best job they can of picking good JAGs given the resources they have. I would hope/imagine many don't waste time focusing on an applicant's politics, because there are much more important/relevant factors to consider, even for those who might be given to (unrightfully) discriminate in some way on this basis.
In talking to other SJAs who conduct interviews, I can't recall politics ever coming up (explicitly or implicitly). Most discussions are usually about possibly disqualifying factors like drugs, criminal records, etc. Overall, I wouldn't be worried about this. Even if bias did creep in, it could go in your favor.
It sounds like you have great experiences working with those organizations. My recommendation would be to focus on showing your interviewer how the skills you developed in those organizations would translate to making you a great JAG. The vast majority of SJAs are going to be much more interested in that. If you don't get selected the first time, reapply! Lots of great candidates don't get picked up their first time, and sometimes it comes down to the vagaries of different selection boards. Consider interviewing at a different base as well, because there's a chance you might "click" more with some interviewers than others, even aside from the political issues.