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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Alberto Gonzales to Replace Ashcroft

WASHINGTON - President Bush has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and the most prominent Hispanic in the administration, to succeed Attorney General John Ashcroft, sources close to the White House said Wednesday...

...Gonzales has been at the center of developing Bush's positions on balancing civil liberties with waging the war on terrorism — opening the White House counsel to the same line of criticism that has dogged Ashcroft.

For instance, Gonzales publicly defended the administration's policy — essentially repudiated by the Supreme Court and now being fought out in the lower courts — of detaining certain terrorism suspects for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts.

He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it expected the Senate to closely examine those issues during confirmation hearings. The ACLU said it had no position on Gonzales, but added: "Particular attention should be devoted to exploring Mr. Gonzales' proposed policies on the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, the Guantanamo Bay detentions, the designation of United States citizens as enemy combatants and reproductive rights."

Some conservatives also have quietly questioned Gonzales' credentials on core social issues. And he once was a partner in a Houston law firm which represented the scandal-ridden energy giant Enron.

So which Republicans will question this appointment? I remember Sen. Lindsay Graham's questions during the Abu Girab hearings... Oh, here is the link. What next, Estrada for Supreme Court?

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