Update: DOJ documents related to the scandal are here.

CREW has sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the firing of U.S. Attorneys.

Recent revelations indicate that a top-ranking Department of Justice official knew that statements made by top Department officials were not true. Clearly, the Department of Justice cannot investigate itself and prosecute the misconduct of DOJ officials. CREW also asked the Department of Justice’s Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the situation.

Crew's position:

Given the murky nature of this situation and the unresolved questions of what top level Justice officials knew, when they knew it and whether they deliberately withheld information from Congress, Attorney General Gonzales should immediately appoint a Special Prosecutor. Both Congress and the American people deserve a full accounting of the truth behind the firings of the U.S. Attorneys. If the attorney general doesn’t want to see the truth come out, perhaps the Inspector General will.

Their letter to Gonzales is here (pdf) and their letter to Inspector General Glenn Fine is here.

< A Survey of the Blue Dogs on Iraq | Live-Blogging Alberto Gonzales' Press Conference >
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      Total Farce (none / 0) (#1)
      by Fritz on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 03:48:37 PM EST
      This is a made up scandal.  The real scandal is the USA Prosecutors that think they own a job that is at the pleasure of the President.  They were simply asked to resign and that they should make room to allow another American to occupy that appointment.  What a bunch of democracy protesters.  As far as White House involvement, little or none to show of.  Most of the correspondence indicates a reasoned way to replace USA prosecutors whose 4 year appointments had expired.  They were asked to resign, instead they are intrenched in their job that they do not own, this behavior affirms why they should and had to be fired.  There is nothing here but a phony anti-democracy protest by partisan Democrats.

      Confused (none / 0) (#2)
      by jarober on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 07:03:03 PM EST
      Which part of "At Will" employment do you find confusing?  

      Is "illegal grounds" confusing? (none / 0) (#3)
      by Mary on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 07:54:46 PM EST
      First off, under Sec 541 - the President, not the AG, has removal powers.  Perino says that the President did not give any specific direction regarding any specific USAtty to the AG.

      So with no delegation or direction from the President, the firing is illegal bc under 541 it is solely a Presidential perogative.

      Next off, under general rules regarding discretionary powers, such as removal powers, even when very broad discretion exists, there are limits.  So even under the broadest discretion, a USAtty could be removed for no reason, or a bad reason, but not for an illegal reason.  So to the extent that there were efforts to obstruct justice by the removals, or to circumvent the Constitutional requirements for advice and consent vis a vis replacements, no "at will" doctrine would support the removal to effectuate illegal purposes - which needs to be investigated.  Some examination of the Nixon impeachment articles and the misuse of DOJ/FBI will clue you in.

      Last off (for now), see Humprhey's Estate v. U.S. and you will see the Sup Court makes a pretty strong statement that where there are appointments (like the USAttys) that have quasi judicial and/or quasi legislative aspects, the Constitution does NOT provide for the President to have an unlimited removal right, bc the judicial functions would be too severely jeopardized by such a situation.  

      I understand at will very well.  I'm sure that you also understand that someone who is not authorized cannot fire and I'm also sure that you don't find any part of "illegal purpose" hard to follow.  

      Was there an illegal purpose?  Both the emails, the facts and circumstances, and the coverups and misrepresentations (some might call them lies) to Congress certainly tilt the table that way.  In any event, it's what oversight is for.