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February 26, 2008

What if Jim Comey had succeeded John Ashcroft as AG?

Especially with AG Mukasey continuing to lament crack retroactivity, it is interesting to ponder what might have happened if President Bush had picked someone other than Alberto Gonzales to be his Attorney General at the start of his second term in office.  Had Bush not tapped Gonzales, the inside money for taking over after AG Ashcroft would have been on James Comey, and it is fascinating to speculate about how Comey might have avoided all the troubled that AG Gonzales eventually got into.

Anyone eager to play this "what if" game seriously should be sure to attend this event next week sponsored by the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City.  The evening event will have Comey, who is now senior vice president and general counsel of Lockheed Martin Corporation," speaking on "Integrity, Public Trust, and Prosecution."

One of many ironies of playing this "what if" game is to think about the possible ripple effect on the US Supreme Court.  If Gonzales had not been made AG, President Bush might have thought to appoint Gonzales to the bench, and maybe have even offered Gonzales the SCOTUS seat that Bush first nominated Harriet Miers to fill.  For various reasons, I think Gonzales would have survived the confirmation process (whereas Miers obviously didn't), and so maybe Justice Alito should be the one most thankful that this "what if" game is not reality.

February 26, 2008 at 11:41 AM | Permalink


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And further ironic that Comey would be speaking about integrity and public trust when he, as Deputy Attorney General, within days of the Supreme Court's decision in Booker instructed every U.S. Attorney in the country to ignore the Supreme Court and continue as if the Guidelines were still mandatory. The U.S. Attorney's were instructed to make no offers outside of the Guideline range, except in "extraordinary circumstances," which is, of course, the departure standard from the Guidelines. This lack of respect for the Supreme Court's ruling by the second highest law enforcement officer in the country, while consistent with the arrogance of the Bush Administration, would be a poor quality (again) in the Attorney General.

Posted by: Sumter L. Camp | Feb 26, 2008 12:04:35 PM

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