White House Floats AG Replacement Names

Roll Call reports that White House Counsel Fred Fielding is floating a bunch of names to Senators for the replacement of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

White House counsel Fred Fielding has been making the rounds in the Senate the past several days and met with Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday afternoon. Although Leahy would not comment on the meeting prior to speaking with Fielding, he did say that Bush's top legal adviser has reached out to numerous Judiciary Committee Senators to vet names and gauge feedback over possible nominees.

Aides in both parties say there are six names:

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson; former Attorney General Bill Barr; former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger; D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman; former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson; and Michael Mukasey, a former judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Larry Thompson has said he doesn't want the job, he's happy at Pepsico. As to the others:


Mukasey -- who was recommended by Senate Judiciary member Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) -- is considered a long shot. Democratic sources said Olson and Terwilliger, both well-known, strongly conservative Republicans, likely would run into significant opposition from Democrats...

Although members of both parties likely would be receptive to Silberman, aides in both leadership camps cautioned that because confirming him would open a seat on the crucial D.C. Circuit Court -- providing Bush a chance to nominate another federal judge to a lifetime appointment -- Democrats could end up blocking him. Nevertheless, a senior Democratic leadership aide said Silberman would "have a good chance of confirmation."

Why would a federal appeals court judge with a lifetime appointment give it up to be AG for a year and a half? I know Chertoff did to become HSA Director, but that wasn't at the end of Bush's presidency. What can Bush offer him? A Supreme Court slot if one opens up in the final months of his term?

Ted Olson, I hope, would not get confirmed. He's got a lot of baggage and is far too partisan. Paul Clement, whom Bush named as Acting AG, isn't on the list. My take: no good choices here, keep on searching.

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    Off-topic, but not so much (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:15:01 AM EST
    As the AG and Iraq and treatment of prisoners, too often innocent civilians, are intimately connected.  But I was sitting here and thought about the young woman blogging as Riverbend (Baghdad Burning), wondering if she was still posting, or still alive.  By chance, she has put up her first new post in five months, a moving description of her family leaving their beloved Baghdad and fleeing to Syria.  It deserves its own thread.

    Thanks Dadler, (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:50:15 AM EST
    I was wondering about her and her family as well, and wondering whether she would ever post again.

    Yes (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:58:01 AM EST
    I saw that yesterday. It is really heartwrenching, especially when you think that her plight is similar to a large percentage of Iraqis and the ones she is leaving behind are an even larger group.

    Unforgetable for me from her post (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 12:15:32 PM EST
    Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds... we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.

    There is no American military solution for Iraq, if only we would ask and allow her surrounding brothers and sisters to do the things that need to be done but who would own the oil?  It wouldn't be us and it wouldn't be the Shia, Sunni's, Arabs, Kurds, and the infrastructure has been destroyed that would support secularism and sharing.........I don't know the answer.  I only know the answer isn't the U.S. military or anything the U.S. has to offer.


    Let's not forget about Bill Barr - (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by scribe on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:16:35 AM EST
    he was AG During Poppy's term, and then became GC of one of the Telcos which are hip-deep into feeding the NSA all your calls, emails and so forth.

    Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

    Of course, the idea of nominating him also brings up all those father-son issues we've been forced to deal with these last six-plus years.

    As to Silberman, he's a Repug fixer, pure and simple.  And we could expect a lot of things to get fixed if he were appointed.

    Silberman may be the most partisan of all (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:59:00 AM EST
    Silberman is a friend of judge Sentelle who appointed Ken Star to replace Fisk, after having lunch with Sen. Faircloth because they didn't think Fisk was partisan enough.  

    More on Silberman

    The senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has been near the febrile center of the largest political scandals of the past two decades, from the rumored "October surprise" of 1980 and the Iran-contra trials to the character assassination of Anita Hill and the impeachment of President Clinton. Whenever right-wing conspiracies swing into action, Silberman is there.

    A veteran of the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan administrations who is close to Vice President Dick Cheney, Silberman has a reputation as a fierce ideologue who doesn't let his judicial responsibilities get in the way of his Republican activism

    Don't forget the Robb-Silberman report (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kovie on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 05:17:16 PM EST
    which deliberately failed to address the question of whether the administration manipulated, misinterpreted or misrepresented the pre-war intel to sell the war--which of course it did, which is why he was put on the commission to squelch this.

    At this rate they might as well nominate Bork. But it'll probably be Clement in the end, whether de facto or de jure. Leahy will not, I believe, entertain any unacceptable nominees--who are the only ones that they're going to nominate of course--until more progress is made on the USA scandal and warrantless wiretaps.


    Senator Salazar (Idiot-CO) (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Domino on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:17:27 AM EST
    Would vote for anyone, no matter what.  

    Whoever is nominated must swear to prosecute the administration flunkies who refuse to testify before Congress.

    Olsen is unacceptable, as is Silberman.  Both were too tied up with the Whitewater inquisition.  In fact, both should have been prosecuted themselves.

    As if (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 01:44:18 PM EST
    Bush gives a da*n about who the Democrats find acceptable.  His first and final instinct is to choose the person most apt to rile the Democrats.

    Leave Clement in the Job (none / 0) (#9)
    by joejoejoe on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 07:14:19 PM EST
    ...until his time expires.

    Hold up any new AG until there is cooperation on the investigations into the US attorney firings.

    Is that so hard?

    All that gets you... (none / 0) (#12)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:02:21 PM EST
    ... is a recess appointment of John Yoo or Harriet Miers.

    That's been my prediction all along.


    Larry Thompson (none / 0) (#10)
    by atlanta lawyer on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 07:18:35 PM EST
    I'd like to think, from what I know about L. Thompson, is that, given what all went on while he as at Justice, and what's happened since then, that he just doesn't want to be AG under Bush.  For a lawyer to pass up the chance to  be AG remain GC with the (distant) second largest beverage company. I don't think so.  And he doesn't need the money.

    "Too partisan?" (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:59:14 PM EST
    The main question is whether Olson is actually competent.  I'm sure no one here would want Hillary or Edwards to have their choices as attorney general vetted as being "too partisan", and I doubt that Bobby Kennedy would have ever made it by that standard.

    Gonzo's (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:02:41 PM EST
    partisanship has resulted in a wild disproportion between Democrats and Republicans being investigated, somthing like 4:1 Democrat. It's led to bogus voter fraud investigations, party affiliation as a litmus test, and removal of competent, fair, non-partisan US attorneys such as Carol Lam and David Iglesias at the behest of disgruntled congresspeople and senators. The degree of politicization under  Gonzo's reign of error is without parallel and seriously damages the dept.'s credibility and the nation's. The AG's office is supposed to enforce the law, not devote itself to shielding and expanding the imperial presidency. Competence is a must, but respect for the law, seriously lacking under Gonzo, is now more than ever a necessity. How is it that you're projecting a Republican problem onto Democratic administrations anyway?

    How many of them are federalist Society members? (none / 0) (#15)
    by SeeEmDee on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:12:53 AM EST
    All I have to say is, the Administration's choices are almost certainly going to be Federalist Society members...who apparently don't have any problems in deciding elections (like the FS members of the Supreme Court did in 2000) when they know d**n well they shouldn't, and they approve of torture.

    They've proven themselves to be willing excavators in the quarries where the building blocks of tyranny are made in this country, and really need to be watched...