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February 16, 2006

Stirring (and encouraging?) speech from AG Gonzales

Senator Arlen Specter suggested AG Alberto Gonzales was smoking Dutch cleanser following Gonzales' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week (details here).  But, after reading the text of Gonzales' One-Year Anniversary Speech (which can be accessed here), I am somewhat less concerned about what might be in the AG's pipe.

I found Gonzales' lengthy speech, which was delivered yesterday to a group of US Attorneys in DC, to be stirring.  Though cynical readers can surely find sentiments that seem out of step with the Bush Administration's actions, my (naive?) enduring optimism made the speech a feel-good read.  I found especially notable and intriguing how Gonzales set forth DOJ's priorities for the year ahead.  Here is the money paragraph:

In addition to the fight against terrorism, the Justice Department will focus on five priority areas in the coming year: violent crime, drug trafficking, cyber crime, civil rights, and public and corporate corruption.  These priorities are not new; they are fundamentals indicators of the American dream.  Nor is this list comprehensive.  But we will work in these areas because our success is vital to the health of that dream in the 21st century.

I also found the speech encouraging because of the absence of any Booker bashing.  But sentencing did come up explicitly in a lone (ominous?) sentence at the tail end of the speech: "Advocating for a tough and fair sentencing system will give teeth to our enforcement objectives, improve our deterrence efforts, and ensure that every American is treated fairly before the bar of justice."

My optimism leads me to want to read this sentence as just an indication that DOJ plans to keep pushing for guideline sentences in district courts and to continue arguing their reasonableness on appeal.  However, one need not be too much of a cynic to read this line as foreshadowing a Booker fix proposal coming from DOJ in the months ahead.

February 16, 2006 at 02:30 PM | Permalink


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Tracked on Feb 16, 2006 4:09:10 PM


Maybe I'm missing something, Doc. It reads to me like pablum, especially the part about DoJ's commitment to civil rights enforcement.

Posted by: Scott | Feb 17, 2006 9:49:11 AM

But stirring pablum, no?

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 17, 2006 9:54:11 AM

You don't get out much, do you Doc? ;-)

Posted by: Scott | Feb 17, 2006 5:17:06 PM

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