1 in 3 Prosecutors on Justice Firing Line

At last count, the tally is 30, as far as the total number of U.S. attorneys reportedly considered for possible dismissal by the Justice Department during 2005 and 2006.

And that amounts to almost exactly one-third of the country’s 93 U.S. Attorneys, says the Washington Post today. Nine of the country’s top prosecutors were dismissed in 2006, in what allegedly may have been a politically motivated purge to replace them with prosecutors more attuned to Republican party goals.

The controversial dismissals, as well as an account offered this week in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee of then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales arguing with then-U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft, while the latter was in an intensive-care hospital bed, about re-authorizing a terrorism surveillance program, apparently are among the major factors prompting an increasing number of Republican members of Congress to call for Gonzales, who is now the U.S. attorney general, to resign. As of yesterday, the number of GOP senators saying that the AG should go had risen to six, according to the Post.

Democratic members of the Senate, meanwhile, are calling for a no-confidence vote to be taken concerning the AG’s continued tenure in office. While it would have no legal force, the vote would presumably heighten political pressure on Gonzales to resign.

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