Executive Branch

AG Nomination Should Avoid Past Errors

As President George W. Bush decides who should succeed Alberto Gonzales, one consideration should be paramount, observers say: Whether the new attorney general will focus on the best interests of the country rather than partisan politics.

“The nation’s top lawyers may have broken the law, and even may have sent innocent people to jail, to advance the interests of the Republican Party,” writes the New York Times in a blunt editorial today. “To replace Alberto Gonzales, President Bush must appoint an attorney general who is above politics, and the Senate should only confirm a nonpolitical lawyer of unquestioned integrity. The names that have surfaced so far as potential nominees do not meet this standard.”

Other publications with differing political perspectives agree:

“Nobody believes the cancer at Justice is gone with Gonzales’ departure, so now is the time to reflect soberly on what kind of lawyering at the top will cure what ails DoJ,” writes Slate. So, the online magazine says, “the nomination process for Alberto Gonzales’ replacement should “include a good, hard look at what happened to the Justice Department under Gonzales, how to fix it, and the proper role of attorneys and attorneys general in a national security crisis.”

As an editorial in the Spartanburg Herald Journal puts it: “The next attorney general needs to be someone who can be trusted by leaders in Congress as well as the White House.” However, some members of the Democrat-controlled Congress aren’t making it easy for Bush to step back from confrontation and nominate a consensus-builder, the South Carolina newspaper writes.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, there currently appears to be no front-runner among the names that have suggested so far as possible AG candidates.

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