The editorial, "Putting justice back in the Department," and the President's Report in the May-June issue, both err in describing the resignation of eight U.S. Attorneys as dismissals or firings. This is loose use of language. What happened is that the U.S. Attorneys were asked to resign and did so without knowing whether if they refused the President would remove them-the only way their four-year terms could be cut short. The question to be asked is whether or not the President had any knowledge of the effort to have them vacate their positions.
My research tells me that only four U.S. Attorneys in history have actually been removed from office by a president: President Cleveland removed the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in 1893; President Carter removed the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1977; and President Reagan removed the US. Attorneys for the Northern District of Ohio and the Southern District of California during his term in office in 1982. The first two removals were occasioned by a change in administration from Republican to Democrat and the failure of the US. Attorneys to resign as was customary. The two removals by President Reagan were occasioned by what was considered by the Attorney General as misbehavior of a gross magnitude.
I suggest there is a considerable difference between a coerced resignation at the behest of underlings in the Justice Department and a removal from office by the president.
Honorable Avern Cohn
U.S. District Court,
Eastern District of Michigan
The article by Sheldon Goldman et al, "Picking judges in a time of turmoil: W. Bush's judiciary during the 109th Congress" (MayJune 2007) has an error on page 270. The statement, "Three of these nominations had originally been submitted in November, 2001. while the fourth (McKeague) was made in June, 2002," was incorrect. It should read "Three of these nominations had originally been submitted in November, 2001, while the fourth (Griffin) was made in June, 2002. …