By MARJORIE COHN
President, National Lawyers Guild
Last year, Republican Senator Arlen Specter slipped a clause into the reauthorized USA Patriot Act that allows Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to appoint U.S. Attorneys without Senate confirmation.
Gonzales took advantage of that crafty little provision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys who weren't goose-stepping to the Bush agenda and replace them with Bush loyalists. Denying any impropriety, Gonzales dismissed the significance of the mass ouster (seven federal prosecutors were asked to resign on the same day last December), calling it an "overblown personnel matter."The Attorney General swore to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January that he "would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons."
But the evidence belies Gonzales' protestations.
NOTE: Cohn's new book, Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, will be published in July