Attorney General

Olson Strong Contender for AG

Sources tell the Washington Post that former solicitor general Theodore Olson is a leading contender for the job of attorney general.

The suspense should be over soon, the article reports, citing sources who say President Bush is expected to announce his choice to replace Alberto Gonzales by the middle of next week.

Olson, who represented Bush in the legal battle over the 2000 presidential election, is viewed as a highly skilled and intelligent lawyer. Some Democrats view him as too partisan, however. Olson currently practices with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C.

Besides Olson, possible nominees are Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman and former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger III, the sources told the Post. Also frequently mentioned as possibilities are Pepsico general counsel Larry Thompson and Solicitor General Paul Clement.

Sources cautioned the Post that a final decision had not been made and the nominee could be someone whose name has not been mentioned in media reports.

Some lawyers told the Legal Intelligencer that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also has a good chance to win the AG nomination because of close ties to President Bush and his impressive background. Chertoff has served as a federal prosecutor, big-firm lawyer, Justice Department lawyer and federal appeals judge.

But a confirmation battle over Chertoff could target his response to Hurricane Katrina and his role drafting the Patriot Act. One lawyer said the likely battle makes a Chertoff nomination unlikely. “I would run naked down K Street if that happened,” the lawyer told the Intelligencer.

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