Friday, September 7, 2007
The resignation of Alberto Gonzales, effective September 17, 2007, caps a run of departures -- the head of the Civil Division just announced his resignation (here) -- from the upper reaches of the Department of Justice that leaves few leaders who hold Senate-approved positions. According to Roll Call (here), the White House has floated some names on Capitol Hill as possible successors to serve as the eighty-first Attorney General. The possible nominees reportedly are: former Solicitor General Ted Olson; former Attorney General Bill Barr; former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger; Senior D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman; former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson; and former U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey, who served in the Southern District of New York.
An interesting question will be how much the White House wants to "calm the waters" after the controversies that surrounded Gonzales this year by choosing someone who at least appears to be above (or outside) the political fray. All of those listed have political ties, to be certain, although Barr has been with Verizon as its GC for a number of years, so he has been largely absent from Washington during the current Bush Administration. He served as the AG under the first President Bush and was quite well regarded, so he could well be a "safe" candidate. Similarly, Mukasey left the Southern District as Chief Judge in 2006 and returned to private practice at his earlier firm, Patterson Belknap, so he too has been absent from the political battles and would likely be a safe nominee. Let the rumor-mill run rampant now. (ph)