Skip to comments.Gonzales Goes Missing
Posted on 03/29/2005 3:30:56 PM PST by ninenot
The White House was "troubled," according to one source, about the reported actions -- or inactions -- of the Justice Department last week as Republicans in Congress made a last ditch attempt to rescue Terri Schiavo.
"You actually had Arlen Specter and his Judiciary Committee out there trying to save this woman's life, and then you have Alberto Gonzales and his crew over at Justice basically putting up roadblocks," says a White House staffer. "This was not a good way for Gonzales to start his tenure there."
Gonzales has been on the job at Justice for a little over two months now, and the congressional attempts to restore the feeding tube to Schiavo was the new AG's first high-profile foray into the politics that swirl around the Justice Department.
By most accounts, Gonzales and his team fared poorly, at least from Republican viewpoints. "Instead of trying to work with us, all we got were no's and roadblocks, with little guidance on what we could do and could not do," says a House leadership staffer who spoke often with the Justice Department's Legislative Affairs office. "They weren't being helpful, and they sure weren't doing the White House any favors."
Ultimately, both the House and the Senate passed -- and President Bush signed -- legislation designed to give Schiavo's parents their best shot at having a federal court overrule the rulings of Florida state courts. Those federal filings ultimately failed.
Before the legislation, the Senate Judiciary Committee -- with Specter's approval -- and House Republicans attempted to subpoena Terri Schiavo, a political maneuver that won plaudits from a number of conservative groups around the country, but which received a thumbs-down the Department of Justice. "The Justice Department pushed us hard to withdraw the subpoena idea," says the House staffer. "We told them that the White House knew about this, and that they tacitly approved. It didn't seem to matter to DOJ. Gonzales and his folks just made things harder for us."
"If the White House was hoping that Gonzales might be able to burnish his image for conservatives leading up to a Supreme Court nomination, the Schiavo case tarnished it pretty badly," says a staffer for a Senator who was pushing hard for the subpoena solution. "I'll say this, every conservative up here was wishing [former Attorney General John] Ashcroft was still there."
To be fair to Gonzalez, Ashcroft's presence at Justice probably would not have made much difference. Ashcroft was excoriated by conservatives on his leaving office for what they said were his failures to press for tough stands against pornography, human trafficking and abortion rights, while not pressing hard enough for faith-based programs.
Another Senate staffer says her impression of the Justice Department's role in the Schiavo case is more benign. "They were giving us straight legal analysis from the federal perspective, nothing more, which is probably what has a lot of people up in arms, and it was all behind the scenes. These folks wanted Gonzales out front, making it appear this was an issue he cared about. That didn't happen," says the staffer. "But I don't think anyone can dispute that the legal advice they gave us wasn't sound. They just didn't help us get to where we wanted to be."
And for failing to do that, many Republicans in the House and the Senate say that Gonzales has failed the first litmus test on the conservative scorecard.
Heard less than one minute of Sean this afternoon so I cannot cite the context but he was speaking to Jesse Jackson about the Florida legislature and claimed that it was REPUBLICANS at fault for the bill not passing.
And before I forget, to tie this back to the article, why didn't AG Gonzales send a top team to make arguments in the case? I can think of several arguments that no judge could legitimately dismiss as unworthy of scrutiny in a few hours.
Clearly Gonzales didn't want to get involved. It's both fair and right to blast him for it.
Don't you all realize that it is the courts that should be interpreting the law and it's applications. It's checks and balances. It's sad that Congress had to intervene, and Gonzalez was just telling them that Congress interfering isn't very legal. Emotions shouldn't overrun sound principles. Hold the judges and courts responsible for bad decisions, not Congress, or the Governor, or the President, because it isn't their fault or even their problem to deal with. We all hate judges who legislate from the bench, so I think the judges (and AG) have every right to hate legislatures judiciating from the capitol.
None of the courts in this case have legislated new "rights" or laws in this case. There may have been some bad findings of FACT, but the courts didn't grant Michael Schiavo any new rights that I can see. The right to remove the tube was created in the Florida code by Florida legislators.
Admittedly, the right to remove the tube was first found by the Florida Supreme Court, but I don't think it was in the Schiavo case. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I was hardly following this case in the late 1990s. It was after that decision that the Florida lawmakers put it into the Code.
After that point, there hasn't been judicial activism that I can discern. We may not like the decisions in this case, but that doesn't make it rise to a precedent.
Well, of course. I mean Democrats are jumping all over themselves to help Terri. I mean, we have both Joe Lieberman and Jesse Jackson to name ALL of them.
That's why we should turn against Republicans because they only made special efforts to go as far as they thought they legally could. Why not make them pay?
Would any of us want to implore our legislators to change the laws taking guardianship away from spouses and giving the right to parents and/or siblings instead?
...he's probably doing valet' parking for the local La Raza meeting.
If you really think that the locals would choose to shoot it out with the USMarshal, or the Marines, you need your Prozac.
Please spare me the hysteria. You expect me to believe that local law enforcement officers would fight to prevent execution of a summons?
Nothing would have happened. Cops have an IQ too. And they don't shoot at one another.
So, allowing the rule of the gun--whether a shootout occurred or local law enforcement backed down--is okay in America now?
"Most of us recall that Gonzales was no hero on the life issues during his term as a Texas judge."
What an understatement. He was a screeching, screaming, howling pro-abort.
Don't put words in my mouth. What's OK in America is the rule of law. Local law enforcement would not oppose federal officials executing a legal summons to appear before congress.
First, I didn't realize that the US government's role was to act as an advocate for specific private plaintiffs in civil cases. Where in the Constitution do you find that?
Second, a top team volunteered to help the Schindlers. They turned them down flat.
There's probably a Christian Identity website where they'd love your comment.
Excuse me, but I never endorsed Gonzales. NEVER.
I was well aware of his shortcomings (I do subscribe to Human Events...)
They just have to be typed up by someone... :)
Yet law-abiding scholars write:
Law is neither wrong nor right,
Law is only crimes
Punished by places and by times,
Law is the clothes men wear
Law is Good morning and Good night.
Others say, Law is our Fate;
Others say, Law is our State;
Others say, others say
Law is no more,
Law has gone away.
And always the loud angry crowd,
Very angry and very loud,
Law is We,
And always the soft idiot softly Me.
W.H. Auden (excerpt)
Didn't know that. Who?
As for the other, it is certainly not uncommon for the federal government (state governments too) to enter briefs in cases to which they are not a party. In fact, I'd say they have a duty to if there are public interests at stake as in this case.
That really is the lamest comeback since George Costanza said, "Oh yeah? Well the jerk store called and they're out of you!"
Yours was pretty lame yourself.
Gonzales was actually putting roadblocks in front of those trying to save Terri.
Please, no profanity, no personal attacks, no racism or violence in posts. Thank you.
What did I say that would fall in any of those categories? I meant no disrespect to people who are ill.
Well, the Libertarians are out in force on this thread--see posts immediately surrounding #75.
THEY like Gonzales.
C'mon Gidget, does this mean that Rice is the token Black?
Not at all. Gonzales is for "individual rights" for those that he thinks deserves them: that does not include Terri Schindler. He will be as useless on "life" issues as was his predecessors.
I don't know much Spanish (except what I learn when my daughter watches Dora) You refered to him as a "Latina" should that not be "Latino" (mascline)
He's been busy attending La Raza dinners honoring him. Be patient and give him a chance to get around to the "Anglo" issues.
Why not? Maybe not in a Democratic administration, but a Republican AG should have helped with this effort to save Terri.
Maybe Gonzales was too busy investigating Sandy Berger. Remember him? He was the dude caught red-handed stuffing classified documents down his pants at the National Archives!!!!! How sweet swift justice is......
Because it should be a given for all concerned.
...or the missing FBI files, or illegal HRC fundraising, or X42's Red China cash pipeline to his campaigns..
GWB doesn't want those things investigated.
And you can see the results of those investigations, right?