The Democrats say that just because Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is resigning it doesn’t mean they’re not going to keep looking into what he did — or remembers what he did — during his tenure.
Mr. Gonzales is a focus of investigations by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, centered on his role in the dismissals of United States attorneys last year for what appear to have been political reasons. Other inquiries are being conducted by the Justice Department’s inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility.
It also means it’s going to make confirming the next AG that much more interesting.
Several names continued to circulate on Tuesday on Capitol Hill and within the department, including those of Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security and a former senior Justice Department prosecutor; Theodore B. Olson, who was solicitor general earlier in the Bush administration; and Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general.
Colleagues said Mr. Chertoff was especially eager for the appointment. Although lawmakers saw him as a leading candidate, several Democrats suggested he would come under unflattering scrutiny if nominated because of his role in the government’s initially disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina two years ago and his involvement at the Justice Department in legal issues related to interrogation of terror suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“There would be a lot of careful questioning of Chertoff,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee. “There is not confidence among Democrats that he has an instinctive desire to side with the rule of law over politics.”
According to the Washington Post, Mr. Bush is looking for someone who “shares his views.” Yeah, well, I think we’ve seen how that’s worked out for him, and it makes you wonder just how many toadies are left in Washington who are willing to face the confirmation hearings and take on the daunting task of rebuilding the confidence in the Justice Department with less than a year and a half before the Bush administration is history.