Keeping Some Perspective on Gonzales' Resignation
As I head off to the jail to see two federal clients in pre-trial detention whose cases won't be affected one whit by Gonzales' resignation, I thought I'd reprint what I wrote in April:
What will change with Gonzales gone? Bush will appoint another one of his loyal faves to replace him. The war on drugs, war on civil liberties and trend towards draconian sentences will continue. Say what you want about Gonzales, he's nowhere near the threat to constitutional rights that John Ashcroft was. He's continued Ashcroft's policies, but he seems to be more of a follower than a take-charge innovator of new ways to deprive people of their freedom.
As for the fired U.S. Attorneys, they all got the job in the first place because they had connections ... either to their state's Senators or to someone in the Bush Administration. None of them got the job because they were the most skilled litigators in their respective jurisdictions. Once installed in the top position, they all put people in jail, including non-violent drug offenders. They're prosecutors, that's what they do.
As for the argument that morale at the 93 U.S. Attorneys' office around the country is foundering, I'm not seeing it ... Every day around the country, defendants are being convicted and sentenced to overly long prison sentences. Maybe morale is low at Main Justice, but it should be. They got caught with their pants down and tried to finagle, if not lie, their way out of it. But, everywhere else in the country according to the lawyers I speak with on both sides, it's business as usual.
So I'm finding it to be less and less an interesting story. Especially now that everyone wants to jump on the Dump Gonzales bandwagon. As if dumping him will make our criminal justice system any fairer.
What we need is to focus on getting a Democrat elected in 2008, one who has progressive views on criminal justice and will appoint an Attorney General who shares those views.
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