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Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who "apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences."

In the wake of the Bush Administration's ongoing purge of US Prosecuting Attorneys across the nation, the AG's planned remarks to the American Enterprise Institute today amp up the government's ongoing push for unitary power.

"We want to determine whether he understands the inherent limits that make an unelected judiciary inferior to Congress or the president in making policy judgments," Gonzales says in the prepared speech. "That, for example, a judge will never be in the best position to know what is in the national security interests of our country."

Amusingly enough, Gonzales framed his comments as a warning against threats to American democracy:

Judges who "apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences, they actually reduce the credibility and authority of the judiciary," Gonzales says. "In so doing, they undermine the rule of law that strengthens our democracy."

Glad we have Alberto looking out for us.

Update:This is the prepared text of Gonzalez' speech to the American Enterprise Institute today. Here are some interesting excerpts:

If the American people disagree with a law Congress has enacted or a policy of the Executive Branch, they have the right to vote Congress or the President out of office. That is the method by which the Constitution keeps control in the hands of the people and keeps our limited government limited. It is my strong belief that activist judges who take that power into their own hands do not serve the Constitution or the people well. They fundamentally misunderstand the role of a judge.

Today there are too many vacancies on the federal bench nationwide. Many of these have been designated "judicial emergencies" by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. For the Judiciary to be strong, it must be fully staffed. Allowing vacancies on the bench to go unfilled does great damage to the courts in the short and long term – and it does not reflect well on the Senate.

The President has nominated, and is continuing to nominate, strong candidates to fill these vacancies, and we look forward to working with the Senate to confirm them.

Originally posted to Rob Cole on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 07:28 AM PST.


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