Stuart Taylor Jr. isn't pulling his punches. OPENING ARGUMENT: Another Gonzales Horror Story :
Every day that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is allowed to remain in office is corrosive to constitutional governance and an invitation to further politicization of the Justice Department.
And “X-Judge” H. Lee Sarokin asks What Do Alberto Gonzalez And A Chicago Divorce Lawyer Have In Common?, and answers as follows:
They both have demeaned the legal profession. A huge billboard in Chicago's nightclub district proclaims: “Life's short. Get a divorce” It features photographs of “a sexy, scantily clad woman on one side and a buff, bare-chested man on the other”. (NYTimes 5/13/07) No matter what the message or the motive of the messenger, no one can dispute the right of the lawyer to offer her wares in this fashion. It has met with considerable success. As with the Attorney General, apparently all things are to be judged by whether or not they are working, not whether they are right or wrong. Illegal wiretapping, secret prisons, torture, unlawful detentions, political firings of U.S. attorneys, suspension of habeas corpus, rejection of the Geneva Convention, and undoubtedly a host of other conduct yet to be revealed (such as a coercive hospital visit to the previous Attorney General seeking approval of an illegal wiretapping scheme) are all justified on the basis that no further attacks have occured since 9/11. Ergo, these tactics, like the billboard poster, are working, The only difference being that encouraging divorce is not illegal or unconstitutional, although in this administration it might be one day.
As to the firings of the U.S. attorneys, nothing infuriates me more than the party line that these are political appointments, and the President, as did President Clinton, can replace them all. Yes, these appointments are political as are those to the courts, but once appointed, U.S. Attorneys, Judges and Justices cease to be political agents. To do otherwise violates their oath of office. Prosecutors should not be dismissed for pursuing criminal conduct by members of the party in power or failing to pursue actions for the sole purpose of embarrassing the opposition and affecting the outcome of elections. Justice is not meant to be used as a political weapon.
So look for a billboard with that infamous picture of the hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib on one side and a smiling picture of the Attorney General on the other saying: “Stop Terror. Torture Works”, because there is little that the current Attorney General does not have in common with the sleazy divorce lawyer.
But, GWB “stands by” Gonzales. And you can see why Bush stands by his man: it will be hard to find anyone to take the job, and the confirmation hearing for any but a top-drawer replacement will be … searching.