Skip to comments.Should Gonzales Go?
Posted on 03/20/2007 4:26:22 PM PDT by Reagan Man
Albert Gonzales Is Spanish for David Souter was a laugh-line heard and repeated frequently at meeting of the Federalist Society two years ago. That was a reference to the rumors of the time that President Bush would name Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales to a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Given Gonzales relatively small paper trail as White House Counsel and a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, members of the conservative legal group feared, a Mr. Justice Gonzales could well turn out to like another member of the high court whose background gave no clue as to how he would disappoint conservatives.
Gonzales never made it to the Supreme Court. These days, the nations top lawman is under even more fire from Democrats on Capitol Hill for the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys than he was two years ago from conservatives when his name surfaced as a candidate for the Supreme Court. The two cases of a pile-up on Gonzales are not mutually exclusive; where many conservatives strongly believe that the White House should not push someone off the sled because Democrats clamor for him, there is very little evidence that they feel this way when the official under fire is Gonzales -- who has never been trusted by conservatives and has done little to assuage the doubts they had about him when he was considered for the high court.
Thus, as one conservative Republican senator told me two weeks ago about a closed-door meeting of the Senate Republican Conference: The feeling among us was that he [Gonzales] should go. This sentiment, the senator explained, had little to do with the furor over the U.S. attorneys firing; most pundits and pols blamed Gonzales understudy, Deputy Atty. Gen. Paul McNulty, for igniting the entire controversy when he testified before the Senate that the firings were performance-related. This prompted several of them to go to the press and cite their excellent performance evaluations.
No, the sentiment that Gonzales should go that the senator (who requested anonymity) spoke of have nothing to do with the recent firings. Gonzales has done so many other things to anger conservatives that the current controversy, it appears, is just a convenient reason to call for him to resign.
Many conservatives burrowed within the Department of Justice have long complained that Gonzales has permitted career government employees and hold-overs from Democratic Administrations to remain in perches of power and thereby water down conservative directives from the top. As one conservative and Federalist Society member in the Justice Department told me: This is definitely not Ronald Reagans Justice Department, I assure you. You have holdovers from Clinton calling the shots in a lot of places here. He particularly cited the environmental division as a hotbed for holdovers.
In terms of high-level prosecutions, Gonzales has raised eyebrows among conservatives more for what he hasnt done than for what he has. It took a long time for the Justice Department to launch the prosecution of former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for taking classified documents home from the 9/11 Commission hearings and then the prosecution ended in plea bargain and fine for Berger. Months after Rep. William Jefferson was found with $90,000 in cash in his refrigerator at home following FBI raids on his office and home, there is still no sign when the Justice Department will prosecute the Louisiana Democrat on corruption charges.
There is also no sign that Gonzales department will go after government employees and office-holders who leak classified information. After the country was subjected to the Plame leak investigation and the subsequent trial of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, its only fair to ask why other leak cases have never been brought. The seriousness of the Plame leak is, at best, questionable. But why hasnt the Gonzales Justice Department investigated and prosecuted the leakers of the NSA terrorist surveillance program, the CIA secret prisons and the disruption of terrorist financing through the Belgian SWIFT consortium?
After the New York Times ran a front-page story last year on the top secret National Security Agency program, some news stories pointed fingers at Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) as a possible leaker; when Sen. Richard Durbin was accused of disclosing classified information after CIA Director George Tenet briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intellilgence in 03, the Illinois Democrat took to the Senate floor to heatedly deny the accusation.
But, as Jim Kouri, a vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police wrote last year, [D]ont expect too much to come from these leak investigations. When the leakers are Democrats, they are called whistleblowers; when theyre Republicans, theyre called leakers.
Terrible for border security is how Phil Kent of Americans for Immigration Control deems Gonzales watch at Justice. He cited an address Gonzales made in March of 05 to the National Council of La Raza, a vigorous open-borders group, in which he said I have this organization to thank for support of my nomination for attorney general.
Cecilia Munoz, vice president for policy at La Raza, told the Washington Post: Many people were not aware of Judge Gonzales long history with our affiliates in Texas, and moving then-Gov. bush to the right posture, from our perspective, on key civil rights issues like anti-English only requirements, like anti-immigrant ballot initiatives, bilingual education, and affirmative action.
As Kent recalled, When Gonzales met with [then] Mexican President Vicente Fox this past spring, there was no discussion -- let alone a public response from Gonzales -- concerning media reports of Mexican military units guarding truckloads of drugs coming into the U.S. or the extradition of Mexican murderers or drug smugglers.
Regarding the current U.S. attorneys furor, Kent simply said: Gonzales should have instructed all of his U.S. attorneys, from Day One, to vigorously prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
But another issue comes of this. When Senate Democrats began objecting to the firings, Gonzales told them that neither he nor the White House would object to legislation that took the power to appoint interim U.S. attorneys away from the Executive Branch and vested it in a judge. This position seems Constitutionally ignorant, as the U.S. attorneys are Executive Branch appointees and judges arent part of the Executive Branch.
To be sure, Gonzales does get some praise from conservatives for his role in crafting the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which apparently enhances the hand of the Administration in interrogation of al Qaeda prisoners. But praise on these fronts is clearly drowned out because of the attorney generals handling of personnel matters, national security prosections and borders security. The U.S. attorneys affair is actually non-germaine to the complaints from conservatives. For other reasons, as the Republican senator told me, he should go.
[John Gizzi is Political Editor of HUMAN EVENTS.]
Gonzales is toast...it is too bad that the Dems will get credit for getting rid of this weak failure of an AG...open borders are only one reason, lack of prosecution of Bergler, Davis, NYT/WashPost/ on & on. then this from La Raza VP & his buddy, Cecilia Munoz told the Washington Post: Many people were not aware of Judge Gonzales long history with our affiliates in Texas, and moving then-Gov. bush to the right posture, from our perspective, on key civil rights issues like anti-English only requirements, like anti-immigrant ballot initiatives, bilingual education, and affirmative action.
At least he may not get a shot at the USSC! I have had massive disdain for this guy since he became AG.
No, he shouldn't go because dimocrats demand it. However, he certainly should go for ineptitude and being a liberal. Immediately.
I for one think Gonzales should go. After all, he did authorize federal troops to go in and terrorize American citizens who were only trying to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Citizens were shot and killed. Elderly people, children and babies in their mother's arms were burned alive.
Oh wait, that was Janet Reno, nevermind.
"Send him to Mexico where his loyalty is"
Send him down to help the Border Patrol. They need a couple of agents since Gonzales put two of them in jail.
This article hits it squarely. Gonzales will be a distant memory soon, just like the Harriet Miers. He can apply to be chairman of La Raza.
The guy shiuld have never been appointed.
Besides being not up to par for the job, he's pro 3rd world illegal and legal immigration.
Fight the Rats over the US Attorney firings, win that battle, then fire him for being a lousy AG.
Every day lately my respect for President Bush diminishes a little more.
Upon reading this today, it has diminished a lot. What a colossal waste.
DO NOT MISS this one. Whew...!
Did you read this?
Should have never been appointed..
ALL of the attorneys should have been let go 7 years ago..
Bush is a wimp..
It is amazing how many posters apparently read only the thread title before responding. This guy Gonzales has been a nightmare from the beginning. The scary part is that Bush is the person ultimately responsible for his own foul, corrupt Justice Department. Certainly Gonzales should go, but who would Bush appoint in his place? Somebody as weak and lame, or worse? Wow....
What a colossal waste.
Is it true that they really weren't fired, they were just not re-hired? Their terms were up?
Yes!! He has been a lousy AG!
That's right. Never be rolled by the democrats.
Would that be the very same "career government employees" that John Ashcroft left in place because the U.S. Congress wouldn't let him fire them OR demote them?
Don't blame Gonzales for that.
About the only good thing you can say about Alberto is that at least Bush only appointed him to be AG instead of a Supreme nominee. He really would have been another David Souter. And the Bush legacy grows and grows.