"“If it comes to that, we’ll take our responsibility very seriously,” Durbin said, giving Bush kudos for his selection of Robert Gates to lead the Pentagon. As for suggested replacements, he added, “I’d start with the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Illinois” — Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the Scooter Libby case who earned a lackluster rating in Sampson’s Justice memo."And elsewhere...a fired U.S. attorney, David Iglesias, speaks out on the NY Times op-ed page today in a must-read:
WITH this week’s release of more than 3,000 Justice Department e-mail messages about the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors, it seems clear that politics played a role in the ousters.
Of course, as one of the eight, I’ve felt this way for some time. But now that the record is out there in black and white for the rest of the country to see, the argument that we were fired for “performance related” reasons (in the words of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty) is starting to look more than a little wobbly.
United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political.
The public has a right to believe that prosecution decisions are made on legal, not political, grounds.Exactly. When politicians seek to manipulate the justice system for partisan gain, it's unacceptable. People understand the need for an independent, impartial system that will be fair to anyone caught up in its wheels.
Mini Bush heard an earful yesterday on his own judicial partisanship efforts. There were hearings on his plan to tilt the judicial appointments committee membership toward the government, giving them an effective majority position. This is a development that is ripe for abuse. Given what we see happening in the U.S., do you trust that we are immune from such partisanship? Should we be giving the Conservative government majority power on these committees or should independent experts be the majority? When Harper has vowed to appoint judges in line with his politics?
I think you know what I think...