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Deputy Attorney General Acknowledges Misstep of Feeney Amendment

Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is number two at the Justice Department under Ashcroft. As much as we've bashed Ashcroft at TalkLeft over the past year, we've never bashed Larry--you can read our early endorsement of him here.

So it is with great appreciation that we bring you news of his speech to the 9th Circuit judges today in Hawaii at the judge's judicial conference. He did everything but issue an apology for the ill-conceived Feeney Amendment which was tacked onto the Amber Alert bill and which reduced judicial discretion in sentencing to a practical nullity.

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry Thompson stopped just short of apologizing to federal judges from the Western states for the Bush administration's behind-the-scenes sponsorship of the controversial Feeney Amendment.

"I know the process was viewed as something less than aboveboard," the No. 2 man in the U.S. Justice Department said to several hundred judges and attorneys meeting on Kauai at the annual conference of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We will not have a situation again where you, the judiciary, feel we have been less than open in our dealings," Thompson added.

Mr. Thompson has been mentioned as a possible replacement to retiring Supreme Court justices. That too would be okay in our book. He has been a defense attorney as well as a prosecutor. He understands constitutional rights, due process and fundamental fairness. He's certainly not a liberal, but he's as fair and honest as they get. Which is more than we can say for his boss and the Administration as a whole.

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