By any reasonable standard, the Gonzales Era at the Justice Department is void of almost all redemptive qualities. He brought shame and disgrace to the Department because of his lack of independent judgment on some of the most vital legal issues of our time. And he brought chaos and confusion to the department because of his lack of respectable leadership over a cabinet-level department among the most important in the nation.So what now? Ed Morrissey says:
Will the White House nominate Michael Chertoff, as rumored? I tend to think that they'll go for someone less associated with the administration, hopefully learning from the nomination of Robert Gates at Defense that going outside can have its advantages. If they do nominate Chertoff, it promises not one but two bruising confirmation battles, the second to replace Chertoff at DHS. There has to be more quality choices available, even in a lame-duck administration.Glenn Greenwald adds:
No matter what, they must ensure that Gonzales' replacement is a genuinely trustworthy and independent figure.Of course a truly independent AG would present some serious problems for the Bush administration.
That means that Democrats must not confirm anyone, such as Michael Chertoff, who has been ensconced in the Bush circle. Instead, the DOJ and the country desperately need a completely outside figure who will ensure that the prosecutorial machinery operates independently, even if -- especially if -- that means finally investigating the litany of Executive branch abuses and lawbreaking which have gone almost entirely uninvestigated, as well uncovering those which remain concealed.
The standard excuse invoked by Democrats to justify their capitulations -- namely, that they cannot attract a filibuster-proof or veto-proof majority to defy the President -- will be unavailing here. They themselves can filibuster the confirmation of any proposed nominee to replace Gonzales. They do not need Blue Dogs or Bush Dogs or any of the other hideous cowards in their caucus who remain loyal to the most unpopular President in modern American history. The allegedly "Good Democrats" can accomplish this vital step all on their own. They only need 40 Senate votes to achieve it.