Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Gonzalez point to ponder

I found this legal blog, Balkinization that ponders a little-noticed revelation in George Bush's statement earlier this week in the Gonzales Eight scandal:

I'm sure I wasn't the only one struck by a particular odd turn-of-phrase: "I'm sorry this, frankly, has bubbled to the surface the way it has, for the U.S. attorneys involved. I really am. These are -- I put them in there in the first place; they're decent people. They serve at our pleasure."

"Our" pleasure? ... The next day, Tony Snow curiously suggested that the removal decision was made, not by the President, but by the Department of Justice: "This is a decision that was made at the U.S. Department of Justice."

Indeed, Snow claimed that DOJ made the removals (i.e., asked for "resignations") without even telling the President! ... That's fairly remarkable and troubling, if it were true -- that the Attorney General fired eight U.S. Attorneys who are, by statute, removable by the President, and did so without even getting the President's approval for such a serious decision!

That's why it's almost certainly not true.
Meanwhile, a McClatchy newspapers report adds more fuel to the proofs of partisan fire (I think we're way beyond smoke on this one):
"Last April, while the Justice Department and the White House were planning the firings, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association," McClatchy reports. "He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in 2008. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired."

Rove later thanked the audience for "all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected" and added, "A lot in American politics is up for grabs."

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