Lady Justice Must Be Crying

Article excerpt

Since promoting a "fair system of justice" is part of the mission of AJS, this month's Judicature editorial ("Putting Justice back in the Department") is rightfully critical of the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, which "recklessly undermined trust in the fair administration of justice."

Unfortunately, those firings represent only one of many actions by this Attorney General that have politicized the Department of Justice, compromised its independence and competence, attacked the role of the judiciary, and steadily eroded civil liberties and constitutional rights. A few examples:

* Former White House Liaison Monica doodling, to whom Mr. Gonzales delegated extraordinary power to hire and fire, admitted in congressional testimony that she had "crossed the line" by considering the politics of applicants for DOJ positions, including Republican activists with little or no experience in immigration law who were selected to serve as immigration judges.

* As White House Counsel, Mr. Gonzales was instrumental in allowing the NSA to engage in warrantless domestic wiretapping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Shockingly, then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey told Congress that when he refused to approve the program because he believed it to be illegal, Mr. Gonzales and White House Counsel Andy Card rushed to the intensive care hospital bed of Attorney General Ashcroft to try to convince him to overrule Comey. Ashcroft refused, but the program was still approved, causing Comey, Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and others to consider mass resignations. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter have accused Mr. Gonzales of misleading the panel on the NSA program, which raised "very serious questions about your personal behavior and commitment to the rule of law."

* The DOJ Inspector General recently discovered widespread and serious abuses of the FBI's authority to issue National security Letters, administrative subpoenas that do not require prior judicial approval or regular congressional oversight. …