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August 26, 2007

AG Gonzales gone ... to be replaced by Chertoff?!!

Over here at Volokh, Jonathan Alter notes this US News item indicating that the "buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff."  Though I won't believe it until it happens, it is still fun to start speculating about what this could mean for federal criminal justice policy.

UPDATE:  CNN and others in the blogosphere now report that this rumor is now a reality: "Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.  President Bush will likely nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the position, senior administration officials said. Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Chertoff, the officials said."

August 26, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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The problem is, of course, that Leahy & Co. may desire a pound of flesh before confirming the new AG.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 26, 2007 6:27:47 PM

this administration owes us all quite a bit more than a pound.

Posted by: | Aug 26, 2007 6:42:31 PM

Maybe it means the DoJ will now do as good a job with its tasks ask DHS did after Katrina. Sometimes, better the devil you know. Never assume things cannot further degrade.

It'd be a big win for Bush to pick someone well respected capable of winning bipartisan support, but that seems unlikely, doesn't it?

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Aug 26, 2007 8:02:40 PM

Well, the president can do a recess appointment (speculated)

And Congress could abolish the DOJ (also speculated).

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 27, 2007 4:04:16 AM

Grits, it's funny how the GOP always gets "helpful" advice to be bipartisan.

And as for Katrina, the Prez really did screw up, he trusted that the Democratic leadership of NO and Louisiana would have some minimal competence.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 27, 2007 10:28:12 AM

Heckuva job, federalist, I mean Brownie.

And you're right, fed, Bush should just appoint a hyperpartisan hack and see how far that gets him.

Ironically, Bush DID work with Democrats in Texas, who controlled both chambers of the Texas Legislature his entire time in office. To hear you talk about it, fed, you'd think that's a bad thing. But politics is not law. It doesn't matter if you're right, it matters who you can convince. best,

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Aug 27, 2007 11:13:08 AM

Grits never saw the fleet of schoolbuses flooded in New Orleans, a fleet which could have been used to evacuate people . . . . but hey, FEMA should have had a fleet at the ready and should have been able to get it to NO immediately, no matter how bad the roads were . . . .

Actually, I do believe in bi-partisanship--it's how Republicans get their way, you see, once the public figures out the Dems' real position on an issue (e.g., the FISA fix or partial birth abortion), then we see bipartisanship.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 27, 2007 11:45:34 AM

Of course, what better choice than to appoint someone whose agency is already roundly criticized for poor performance and disregard for civil liberties to another agency facing the same criticism? Clearly, the skill sets involved overlap.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Aug 27, 2007 2:16:38 PM

Federalist, don't you think there's plenty of blame for the Katrina response to go around? Are you really defending DHS' response or is this just reflexive Bush sycophancy?

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Aug 27, 2007 2:33:06 PM

The vast vast majority of the blame for Katrina should be on Nagin and Blanco. Nagin and Blanco were complete doofuses. Grits, you took the cheap shot about Chertoff and Katrina, and now I am the sycophant--cute. Moreover, I doubt seriously you have any idea of the logistical challenge of rescuing tens of thousands of people after an area has been devastated by a monster storm like Katrina. And it's also funny how people who complain about DHS' response during Katrina had nothing to say when heat waves killed almost a thousand people in Chicago (of course, dealing with the heat wave would have been a lot easier than dealing with Katrina). Of course, a Democrat was president at the time, so there were no expectations that the feds could actually do something about it.

Bush's big mistake, honestly, was trusting that idiots like Nagin and Blanco could actually handle this. The people of Louisiana seem to have made their judgment, given the low tactics Dems are using in Louisiana in a desperate attempt to sink Bobby Jindal.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 27, 2007 2:49:39 PM

SG Paul Clement will apparently be acting AG once Alberto "Gollum" Gonzales departs. I'd like to see Clement keep the AG post, better than Chertoff, and Clement is one of the few people in the Bush administration I somewhat respect. I don't think Clement is insane.

Posted by: bruce | Aug 27, 2007 7:08:30 PM

Federalist, So you agree that the Federal Government should have taken over all governing functions of the state of Louisiana, going so far as to imprison any elected state official that attempted to do their job? I guess, in this case, we agree.

People in Texas are dangerous criminals (that is why so many of them need to be executed, and in fact are). But, if Texas did not do this on its own, the federal government could come in and start executing random Texans to save the rest of the union. After all, we know that Texans are criminals. It is in their blood.

We also agree that Louisiana isn’t a real state and can be taken over by the federal government at any time. Their “state” status is just a joke because we all know that they are all retards. If they get in over their head (no pun intended) the federal government can send in some bureaucrats with guns to make things right.

That is some federalism you go there.

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 28, 2007 7:32:53 AM

Unfortunately, S.cotus, as with racial discrimination, sometimes the feds have to do things that they otherwise shouldn't. As bad as Katrina was, it could have been far far worse. Imagine if the storm had hit New Orleans harder and had caused the catastophic destruction of the levees during the storm, instead of the levees gradually giving way after the storm had blown through? Slogans such as federalism really don't get the job done in such instances, now do they?

Posted by: federalist | Aug 28, 2007 8:12:59 AM

Federalist, Just as the people of Texas choose to live their lives in lawless criminal ways. The people of Louisiana chose to live their lives in incompetent ways, complete with public exhibitionism. The people of Massachusetts get to have married gay sex. I don’t know what happens in Montana. Depending on which political slogan you shout one of the above is the worst thing ever.

That is a matter for the people of their states to decide. Only if these things violate the constitution and a court order enjoins certain activities, would it be for the federal government to step in. None of this was present in Louisiana.

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 28, 2007 8:35:30 AM

Not that it really matters, but Lousyana *is* filled to the brim with idiots, as anyone who has been unlucky enough to live there can attest. The real blame for Katrina? The Corps of Engineers. Using 18th century technology (poorly), ignoring repeated warnings, and responding slowly.

Posted by: Dweedle | Aug 28, 2007 9:52:52 AM

And, in the USA, being an idiot is your right. If idiots ascend to state or federal government, that is the will of the people and we should not rely on force. That is so Iraqi.

Posted by: S.cotus | Aug 28, 2007 10:15:31 AM

I do not understand the animousity to Chertoff. But I would not want to see Homeland Security put in more turmoil by his departure to go to the AG job. What is that guy with the non- descript name from Pennsylvania who was a governor and then Homeland Security Chief. Tom Ridge? If he is out of work perhaps he would take a job for 17 months or so.
Why can't the "acting" remain the "acting" for the balance of the Bush term?
The worst thing Gonzalos came up with was the reiteration of the "Fuhrer Princip"--that the Commandar In Chief can do no wrong and can defy all laws.
Has any AG ever been sentenced to jail?
If this one committed perjury before Congress would it be up to his successor to appoint an independent counsel?

Posted by: M. P. Bastian | Aug 28, 2007 2:15:02 PM

Former AG John Mitchell was convicted of conspiracy in 1975 and served 19 months in a minimum security prison.

Posted by: JSN | Aug 28, 2007 2:56:37 PM

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