Posted on June 12, 2007


The Senate proposal of a no-confidence vote against Alberto Gonzales, the besieged Attorney General, was expected to fail.

And fail it did, as Republicans refused to back the proposal spearheaded by the Democrats, which needed 60 votes to bring the no-confidence resolution to a vote.

Only one prominent Republican has publicly stated that he would join the Democrats. Six other Republicans, along with Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voted with the Democrats. He said he would vote for the resolution, as “The department at the present time is in shambles”.

Which is only one of the many reasons why Republican Senators who have a conscience ought to vote with the Democrats on the matter.

Besides Gonzales’ obviously weak and incompetent leadership that has made a mess in the Department of Justice, the New York Times reported that morale at the Department is low, as more staffers leave after the scandal over the firing of the federal attorneys and top positions remain unfilled.

A more critical reason they ought to be backing the vote, no matter their political stripes, is the damage and credibility loss Gonzalez has brought to the Department, and with it, the country’s justice system.

There cannot be much, or any, credibility left to the Department if it’s so blatantly set on a political, rather than a justice and law-driven, agenda.

It didn’t help when a former aide of Gonzales’, Monica M. Goodling, testified that political allegiance was a factor when she hired people for lower-level nonpolitical jobs at the Department. Her actions are a possible violation of federal employment laws.

It’s interesting that President George W Bush is wasting his political capital from standing by Gonzalez faithfully, and Republican Senators don’t have the courage to vote with their conscience, even as conservative Republicans increasingly condemn Bush’s backing of Gonzalez.

Right-wingers like Robert Novak are screaming injustice at the way Bush is treating Gonzalez, compared to Scooter Libby. “Prevailing opinion among Republican office holders, contributors and activists could not differ more from Bush’s posture. They regard Libby as a valuable public servant who faces serious prison time thanks to prosecutorial abuse made possible by Bush administration decisions. They see Gonzales as an embarrassment to the party who presides over a hollow Justice Department while presidential staffers search for Senate votes to block a no-confidence motion,” Novak wrote in the Washington Post.

Novak warns that with Bush’s latest choice, and in the wake of the immigration debate, Bush risks losing the Republican faithful on issues like Iraq.

Interesting though Novak’s point might be, the bigger issue here is not just Gonzales’ incompetence. Much has happened during the Bush administration to erode the principles that the US stands for — civil liberties, the rule of law and the impartiality of the justice system.

If Republican Senators insist that the vote is irrelevant and nothing more than just a stunt, they have failed to grasp the significance behind the fiasco that has been perpetuated by Gonzales under the administration’s directions.

Posted in: justice, politics, US