Whatever happens to Mr. Gonzales, the taint will remain. That’s why the only real solution is to depoliticize the Justice Department, to do away with the appearance of anyone playing politics there.I would suggest that the current system is not broken, it's the Rovian Bush administration is broken. The more the Bush administration abuses power the more cries there are to limit the power of the executive. This is the wrong approach. For starters George W. Bush and Richard Cheney should be impeached for the impeachable offenses they have committed. If for no other reason than to warn future potential tyrants that they will be held accountable. Now we get down to the real thing that needs fixing. No it's not the government or the constitution - it's the media, yes that so called liberal media both print and television. We have discussed here and here how the media is as responsible for the fact we are in the debacle of an occupation in Iraq. They are responsible for much more. When they refused to investigate or refused to publish the results of their investigations of the 2000 election the enabled the Bush administration to steal yet another election in 2004. When they refused to investigate or report on the lies and deceptions of the Bush administration they made it possible for the election to be close enough to make a fix possible. The list of instances where the main stream media failed the American people would be a long list indeed. That includes establishment pundits like David Broder and Tom Friedman. The press is called the fourth estate for a reason, when it doesn't do the job it was intended to do our form of government will fail. Al-Qaeda need do nothing, the New York Times and the Washington Post are doing it for them. Unless some way can be found to restore an independent press changing the mechanics of government will accomplish nothing.
I suggest we begin by making the attorney general job no longer a cabinet position. When the nation was established, the president needed a lawyer at his side. But today the president has a White House staff full of them — a veritable law firm in his own home.
The solution is to have the attorney general appointed to a fixed term — say, 15 years — that wouldn’t be coterminous with the tenure of the president who appoints him. As with the director of the F.B.I. (a 10-year term) and the chairman of the Federal Reserve (a four-year, renewable term), the appointment would be made by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Congress’s oversight would ensure that no political hack or crony of the president could be handed the job.
Likewise, the 93 United States attorneys should not be political apparatchiks, but talented lawyers selected half from Republican ranks and half from Democratic, following the system used for regulatory bodies like the Federal Communications Commission. These men and women should also be subject to Senate confirmation.
Changes in the occupant of the White House should not affect the way justice is administered. If the Gonzales mess ends up giving us an apolitical Department of Justice, the American people will be well served.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Hey! It's not our system of Government that's Broken
Former Justice Department official Arnold I. Burns has an Op Ed in today's New York Times, Two Parties, One Law, where he suggests that the Justice Department should be depoliticized.