Balkinization  

Monday, August 27, 2007

Attorney General Gonzales Resigns

JB

The New York Times reports. The Bush Administration now faces three problems. The first is finding a person to serve for the last years of a lame duck administration in a department with many unfilled vacancies, a diminished reputation for integrity and serious morale problems. The second problem is getting the person confirmed before a Democratic controlled Senate. Democrats will very likely grill the nominee in confirmation hearings, and if the nominee was involved in the operations of the current Justice Department, may try to settle scores and demand information about what Gonzales did, leading to yet another standoff over executive privilege. The third and most serious problem is that Democrats may use the confirmation as a bargaining chip to pry open more disclosures from this most secretive and stubborn of White Houses.

As for Mr. Gonzales, he was a disgrace to the office. There are many roles he could have competently filled-- and did fill-- in his career. The Nation's chief law enforcement officer was not one of them. He abused his office for political gain, repeatedly misled Congress under oath --and probably out and out lied on more than one occasion-- and turned a once proud institution of government into an object of deep suspicion.

No one person can cure what ails the Justice Department these days. It will take determined leadership and reform by a large number of individuals. I have no confidence that the current Administration will put the right people in place. We may have to wait for a new Administration, and even then to fix what Alberto Gonzales did to the United States Department of Justice may take many years.

Comments:

Long overdue departure.
.
I'm not as pessimistic as Professor Lederman that "the rot runs deep," or at least, no deeper than usual in an organization of this scope and depth.
.
I also don't see the departure as creating an effective bargaining chip for what the Bush WH asserts are state secrets. Either the new face will argue the same thing, or there won't be a new face.
.
According to C-SPAN: 10:30 a.m. News Conference at Justice Department, Gonzales will announce his own resignation.
 

What reason do we have to believe that the position will not be filled via recess appointment?
 

Just this.
 

Bush honor an informal, back channel deal on recess appointments?

And I belive in the easter bunny, the tooth fairy, and the virgin birth...in no particular order.
 

It looks like the resignation will be effective September 17. Congress should be back in session by then.
 

I just watched Bush on CSPAN announce Clement as acting AG. My prediction is that he lets Clement sit for as long as possible (over 200 days), make a big show of how uncooperative the Dems are with his appointments, then make a recess appointment next time around.

BTW, if you don't know who Clement is, he has been one of the most vocal proponents for broad executive wartime powers.
 

What has Clement said about wartime powers outside of his presenting the Bush administration's position in court?
 

It looks like the resignation will be effective September 17.

Constitution Day? And they say irony is dead.
 

Are there any legal issues involving Solicitor General Clement looking into problems at the DoJ now that he's acting Attorney General?

What are some of the possible conflicts that could arise serving in both roles?
 

Should we put Bart on suicide watch?
 

It looks like the resignation will be effective September 17.

"Constitution Day? And they say irony is dead."

Actually, A.G. Gonzales officially resigning on Constitution Day is not ironic at all. It is, in fact, wildly appropriate. Of course, I seriously doubt that anyone in the WH or DoJ is even aware of such a thing as Constitution Day. ("[The Constitution's] just a goddamn piece of paper," is still my favorite (possibly apocraphyl, yet oh-so-appropriate) George W. Bush quote.)

If Pres. Bush gave Mr. Gonzales a Congressional Medal of Honor on Constitution Day... now that would be ironic.
 

Well, the Dems have their scalp. They can campaign on that "accomplishment" during the 2008 election. I am sure voters will be suitably impressed.

It would be amusing if Bush nominated Addington to replace Gonzales...
 

His actual letter of resignation to Junior makes the skin crawl...obsequious, slavishly encomiastic...the last line says it all:

"I remain by your side,"

I presume "Stand by your man" already had been taken.
 

I like this from the resignation letter:

It has always been my honor to serve at your pleasure.
[sic]
 

It would be amusing if Bush nominated Addington to replace Gonzales...

Why would this be amusing?

Further demonstrations of the peevish, bratty character of our CIC would be about as fresh and funny as watching the same Benny Hill episode for the 500th time. If Bush were a comedian, selecting Addington might be amusing; however, as he is our president, doing so would be as depressing as it would be predictable.
 

"What has Clement said about wartime powers outside of his presenting the Bush administration's position in court?"

I don't care to engage in a semantic argument regarding what a 'vocal proponent' is, but in my opinion, arguing for broad executive wartime powers in high profile cases before the US Supreme Court is rather outspoken.
 

Don't you know? The famous resignation letter line:

"It has always been my honor to serve at your pleasure."

...is pent-up-homo-erotic-
conservative-speak.

Don't believe me? Do a quick Google for today's news, keywords: Senator Larry Craig Bathroom. You'll see.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I don't care to engage in a semantic argument regarding what a 'vocal proponent' is, but in my opinion, arguing for broad executive wartime powers in high profile cases before the US Supreme Court is rather outspoken.

I don't have a problem with the solicitor general making "outspoken" arguments before the court. That's one important thing the justices are there for -- to resolve such arguments. See Marbury v Madison.

My larger objection to the administration's strategy on war powers is that it avoids such judicial review. For example, while Bush and his surrogates repeatedly claim in political venues that Article II trumps FISA, the administration's entire strategy has been to keep the merits of that claim from being decided in court.

I must assume that Clement has been at least a tangential part of that strategy by advising his client that there are not votes on the Supreme Court for the radical Article II theory. It would be malpractice if he did not give that advice. But the ultimate responsibilty -- in the face of that handwriting on the wall -- for failure to "see that the laws be faithfully executed" lies with the President.
 

Atomix said...

BD: It would be amusing if Bush nominated Addington to replace Gonzales...

Why would this be amusing?


What pisses off the Dem left is not that Gonzales did anything wrong (which he did not), but rather that the President is exercising his Article II powers and largely ignoring the unconstitutional post Watergate attempts of the radical 1974 Dem Congress to restrict those powers. The Dems are quite open about this.

Consequently, I would find it highly amusing if Mr. Bush were to nominate Addington, an intellectually muscular advocate of the President's Article II powers (which Gonzales was not) and watch Addington thrash the intellectually challenged political hacks on the Judiciary Committee. Hell, I would take the day off from work to see Addington use the Article II policies of past Dem icons like FDR and JFK to make the present Dem geldings sputter and tap dance.
 

JaO said...

My larger objection to the administration's strategy on war powers is that it avoids such judicial review. For example, while Bush and his surrogates repeatedly claim in political venues that Article II trumps FISA, the administration's entire strategy has been to keep the merits of that claim from being decided in court.

Given that this is a balance of powers issue without any demonstrable legal harm to a citizen, the courts could very well find that this is a non justiciable political issue.

In any case, Congress has known from the beginning that the TSP and probably other programs violate FISA. Not only have they been unwilling to take any legal action before the courts, but a heavy majority of a Dem Congress legislatively gutted FISA rather than explain to the voters why it is necessary for FISA to hamstring our foreign intelligence gathering to protect the privacy rights of US citizens who might be chatting with targeted foreign al Qaeda. They knew that such an argument would crash and burn with the vast majority of voters outside of these blogging precincts.

If Congress does not care to defend the unconstitutional restriction of foreign intelligence gathering through FISA, why should the President or the courts defend the indefensible???
 

Although I disagree with Bart about whether a justiciable test case on FISA is possible (He well knows that I have suggested several forms that might take) I won't take that off-topic path here.

And I will not disagree with Bart's observation that to the extent Congress abandons the field and asserts no authority, there is no constitutional issue to decide. As Justice Jackson observed in Youngstown:

But I have no illusion that any decision by this Court can keep power in the hands of Congress if it is not wise and timely in meeting its problems. A crisis that challenges the President equally, or perhaps primarily, challenges Congress. If not good law, there was worldly wisdom in the maxim attributed to Napoleon that "The tools belong to the man who can use them." We may say that power to legislate for emergencies belongs in the hands of Congress, but only Congress itself can prevent power from slipping through its fingers.

While some Democrats are foolishly taking victory laps over the Gonzales resignation, and some are braying that the administration will be obliged to make accommodations to get a successor confirmed, I rather think Bush might now take the offensive -- which is his signature style.

Having recently seen how easy it was to buffalo congressional Democrats over FISA temporarily, he may nominate an anti-FISA hawk such as Laurence Silberman as AG. Bush then will wave the bloody shirt of "terrorism" again in the confirmation process, which will play out concurrently with legislation to amend or repeal FISA for good.
 

What pisses off the Dem left is not that Gonzales did anything wrong (which he did not), but rather that the President is exercising his Article II powers and largely ignoring the unconstitutional post Watergate attempts of the radical 1974 Dem Congress to restrict those powers. The Dems are quite open about this.

Can't say I got that conclusion from the article you linked to. It is astonishing though how many upper tier DOJ officals have left simply because the Dems are pissed off at the President's exercising of his Article II powers.

...Addington thrash the intellectually challenged political hacks on the Judiciary Committee. Hell, I would take the day off from work to see Addington use the Article II policies of past Dem icons like FDR and JFK to make the present Dem geldings sputter and tap dance.

Just the thought of such a show of authority makes me tumescent.
 

Consequently, I would find it highly amusing if Mr. Bush were to nominate Addington, an intellectually muscular advocate of the President's Article II powers (which Gonzales was not) and watch Addington thrash the intellectually challenged political hacks on the Judiciary Committee. Hell, I would take the day off from work to see Addington use the Article II policies of past Dem icons like FDR and JFK to make the present Dem geldings sputter and tap dance.

To each their own, I guess. But as JaO has said so many times, if this 'argument' is such a "slam-dunk", one might rationally wonder why the maladministration has been loath to forward it within the confines of a courtroom, and when they have been called on their bluff, and are forced to forward some subset of this, they've been pretty much slapped down by the courts.

Cheers,
 

Thanks for the info, maybe I can use this ended my tufted marketing and I've been use untold anulus media in run a interaction and they someone existing a big amend on me. Luxury Home Design
 

Post a Comment

Older Posts
Newer Posts
Home