Monday Bush’s damaged goods Attorney General Gonzales resigned with no one protesting or lamenting from either party. Any day now Bush could nominate a new candidate.
Here in Seattle the Seattle Times did a editorial supporting former conservative Washington State US Senator Slade Gorton who also served many years as Washington State’s Attorney General. David Postman reports that he is mentioned in a list by CNN.
We reported on some of the initial speculations of a possible successor. CNN reports that Larry Thompson is no longer being considered. Speculation is rife on Homeland Security Michael Chertoff while others speculate that the Hurricane Katrina fiasco dims his prospects considerably. Besides Gorton, they mention Ted Olsen, George Terwilliger, Lawrence Silberman, John Danforth and Asa Hutchinson.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that five names are under serious consideration at this time.
The effort to find a new Attorney General is being lead by Fred F Fielding – Bush’s White House Counsel and Joshua B Bolten – the White House Chief of Staff. They are trying to find people willing to step up to take over Bush’s battered Justice Department with its tattered image and credibility. They are trying to draft prospects and narrow the list down.
Currently under consideration according to the Washington Post:
Paul D Clement - is the current acting Attorney General and is the current Solicitor General for Bush. The Solicitor General is involved in cases before the US Supreme Court. Clement is a former clerk of Judge Silberman as well as Associate Justice Antio Scalia of the US Supreme Court. He is a staunch conservative, only 40 years old and a member of the Federalist Club. He was active in Bush vs Gore.
George J Terwilliger III – a former deputy Attorney General, he is a partner in White and Chase LLP in Washington DC. They note that “He was a leader on the legal team that represented President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the Florida recount of the 2000 Presidential election.”
Theodore B Olsen – was Bush’s Solicitor General from 2001 – 2004. You might call it payback for his efforts in getting the US Supreme Court to appoint Bush as President in 2000. On the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm’s website where he currently is, it says he “has argued 46 cases in the Supreme Court, including Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board and Bush v. Gore, stemming from the 2000 presidential election; prevailing in 75% of those arguments”
He is a member of the right wing judicial activist Federalist Society.
Michael B Mukasey – former chief judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mukasey retired last year at age 65, citing financial considerations as one reason. He earned $165,000 per year. He rejoined his old law firm, Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler where partners can make $1 million or more a year. DC JobSource lists cabinet level salaries as only slightly more than his salary as a judge. The AG job would be a salary jump of less than $20,000 to $183,500.
Lawrence H S Silberman – senior judge on the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. First nominated to Court of Appeals by Ronald Reagan, went to Senior status in 2000. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center and a past visiting fellow for 8 years at the right wing American Enterprise Institute.
Silberman seems a questionable choice considering his background. As Salon has noted he “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.”
Kevin Philips has said, “In the past, Silberman has been more involved with coverups in the Middle East than with any attempts to unravel them.” Ralph Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, calls him “the most partisan and most political federal judge in the country”
Four of the 5 names from the Washington Post were previously mentioned in a Wall Street Journal Law Blog post. The Washington Post added George Terwilliger III to the list.