Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Fired US Attorneys

This topic is an interesting nexus of my interest in politics, legal education and, specifically, the class I'm in now, Administrative Law.

The basic story is that someone in the Administration stuck a small change into the Patriot Act at the last minute that expanded the President's right to name Interim United States Attorneys. The effect of this law is that the Bush Administration can replace a sitting US Attorney without any check or balance by either of the other branches of government. The White House has wasted no time in availing themselves of this new law by replacing 8 US Attorneys. Now this is weird enough as it is rare for any administration to replace this many judges in their WHOLE TERM!

The next red flag was that one of the replaced attorneys was Carol Lam, the USA from San Diego who had put Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham in prison for bribery. Her inquiry into the scandal has continued and she is working on a case against the former #3 man in the CIA, Dusty Foggo, a Republican appointee. There is no telling where her inquiries lead as this appears to have been an extensive bribery ring that was focused on delivering government contracts.

Then the USA from New Mexico, David Iglesias said that he believes he was fired for not responding to pressure by two Congresspeople from New Mexico, believed to be Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici (Domenici has confirmed they spoke, but denied having pressured him). He is now being subpeonaed by Congress to explain the situation behind his firing.

It looks like the whole thing is beginning to fall apart for them on this front, yet there is nothing that can be done to undo the firings. This situation highlights the basic willlingness of the Bush Administration to push politics to the letter of the law, consequences be damned. They used to do so under the assumption that their spinmachine was so well oiled that they could spin the middle enough that they would be able to maintain public support. Now that Bush is truly a lame duck, he's given up the mantle of public support in defending extreme behavior and has decided to just ignore the question.


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