Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he is not going anywhere.
Never mind that he is caught up in the biggest scandal involving a sitting Attorney General since the sordid days of the 192Os.
Never mind that the scandal that plagues Gonzales involves the same sort of concerns about the politicization of the Department of Justice and the federal bureaucracy that ultimately forced Richard Nixon from office in the 197Os.
Never mind that even Republicans are saying the firing of US attorneys who would not agree to launch pre-election prosecutions of Democrats has created “a crisis with the Justice Department”–to borrow a phrase from conservative Nevada Senator John Ensign–while Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are beginning to echo the assessment of New York Senator Charles Schumer, who says that Gonzales has engaged in an “unprecedented breach of trust and abuse of power.”
Never mind that Schumer well sums of the crisis when he says that Gonzales has “either forgotten the oath he took to uphold the Constitution or doesn’t understand that his duty to uphold the law is greater than his duty to protect the president.”
Never mind that Schumer and a growing number of senators and presidential candidates have called on Gonzales to step down.
Gonzales knows that calls for his resignation are no more consequential than complaints about his disregard for the rule of law when it comes to torture and civil liberties.
While he may in fact have violated his oath of office and placed himself in direct conflict with the Constitution, the Attorney General claims that he is accountable only to his president.
“I work for the American people and serve at the pleasure of the president,” says Gonzales.
Bush, the Attorney General argues, will decide whether he will continue to run the Justice Department.
Gonazales ought to peruse his Constitution a little more closely.
The Attorney General does serve at the pleasure of the president, who nominated him to serve in the position two years ago and who, according to initial White House statements, “has all the confidence in the world” in Gonzales.
But Gonzales occupies the venerable position of Attorney General because the Senate, which is empowered by the Constitution to provide the president with advice and consent regarding Cabinet picks, consented to his becoming the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.