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"All political appointees can be removed by the President for any reason."

Those are the last words spoken by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at today's press conference, spoken very pointedly at the very end before he scootered out.  Not only are these words not true according to the constitution, but it is an impeachable offense.

Alsberto Gonzales just nailed Bush.  I haven't heard anyone else mention it so I am diarying it here, I think it is important to hang him with that last sentence.

"All political appointees can be removed by the President for any reason."

Bush did it.

UPDATE: Apparently it is constitutional.  However a poster in another thread claimed that one of the articles of impeachment that were being brought against Nixon included the same charge of political tampering in justice.  Hmm.  Well we'll see, but certainly this implicates Bush.  Originally the White House claimed they were not involved.

UPDATE II: I apologize for what a weak diary this is, I had about 5 seconds to get it out in the flurry of activity after the presser.  Sorry if it offends some.  But as Chuck Schumer said today, Congress was told under oath that the White House had nothing to do with the firings whatsoever.

x

UPDATE III: IF the President violated any laws in firing the USAs, he is in violation of his oath to uphold the constitution, and in violation of specific articles of the Constitution.

UPDATE IV: Conyers just announced a "Constiututional Showdown" with the President and the White House over the White House involvement.  He will call Karl Rove among others to testify under oath, and subpoena them if they do not cooperate.

Originally posted to reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 11:54 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lawyers Please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revbludge

    Is Gonzales' statement true or not?

    "They are trying to steal our minds." - Buddhist monk upon arriving in Times Square and seeing all the billboards

    by Near Vanna on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 11:57:14 AM PDT

    •  no consensus (0+ / 0-)

      But generally, yes.

      •  Political reasons? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, bookwoman

        The justice department is different.  You can appoint for political reasons but I daresay I don't think you can remove people from justice for purely political reasons, that is a no-no.   Now they have to defend whether the firings were political, but there are too many emails proving otherwise, it won't wash.

        "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:00:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Answering My Own Question (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ablington, jdmorg, Simplify

      So if Bush decided Condi Rice could no longer head the State Department because she was African American, that would be legal?

      "They are trying to steal our minds." - Buddhist monk upon arriving in Times Square and seeing all the billboards

      by Near Vanna on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 11:59:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, bherner, Near Vanna

        Assuming he made such a statement, you'd have an interesting point.

        However, the President does not have to justify his personnel decisions.

        •  Which makes AG AG's statement to congress (6+ / 0-)

          that these firings were "performance based" even more stupid.  He doesn't have to give a reason.  But by saying they were performance based he not only perjured himself, he pissed off these 8 Republican attorney's, prompting them to testify before congress to clear their names.

          It seems an immensely stupid decision.

          "Why don't newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye" - Jack Johnson

          by bawbie on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:16:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If he decided (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, Near Vanna

        that for that reason and said it out loud, he'd be violating Title VII and Condi could take it up with the EEOC (or file her own private suit). If he stated that she could no longer head the State Department because she didn't do her job correctly, (even if his deeply felt reason was that she was African-American, but he didn't tell anyone about it or engage in a pattern of firing competent African-American employees), that would not expose him to any liability.

    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Near Vanna

      But previously before patriot act the president CANNOT appoint replacement. That is the reason a president cannot just fires everybody, cause then he will have trouble during replacement hearing.

      But because of patriot act, Bush can fired and replace it with his cronies. It's all legit really.

      The case no rest on obstruction of justice, corruption, cover ups, etc.

      notice the patriot act is still the law Bush can still appoint whoever he likes. It hasn't been fixed yet. (There is not enough vote to fix it)

    •  It may very well be unconstitutional (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnB47, Simplify

      U.S. Const., Article II, Section 3:

      "[H]e [the president] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

      It's one thing to replace the chairman of something like the Federal Trade Commission.  But the politicization of the Justice Department--in which the USAs are the prosecutors of federal crimes--exemplifies a gross disregard of the standard of care that the (federal) Laws be faithfully executed.

      And that would be a constitutional violation.

  •  Hmmmm, interesting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revbludge

    I look forward to that one unfolding.  Chances are Keith O will address it tonight.  Can't wait.

  •  Heil (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiesandmilk, revbludge

    Bush!  He is Der Leader!  Der Decider!

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 11:57:36 AM PDT

  •  Good catch. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    Now let us remove the President. Puh-LEASE.

    Impeach Bush and Cheney because it's the right thing to do.

    by revbludge on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 11:58:36 AM PDT

  •  includes reasons that are not impeachable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boston Boomer

    For example, if the AG recommended removal for a not valid reason and failed to inform Bush then Bush could be acting on a recommendation by the AG (a valid reason for removing USAs) but it was underpinned by other reasons, e.g. political retribution and cover-up (not valid reasons for removing USAs).

    If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

    by Carl Nyberg on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:00:31 PM PDT

    •  impeachment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      curtadams

      is at the discretion of congress. It is they who determine if what the President does amount to high crimes and misdemeaners. In other words they can impeach him if they so choose. There is no recourse and the Judicial branch cannot intervene to say that the president did not commit an impeachable offense.

  •  But what does this MEAN? (0+ / 0-)

    Legally, can Bush get in real trouble for this?

    Name a body part and a planet, and I've taken a bullet in it, on it. Relentless!

    by ablington on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:01:21 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure I agree. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bawbie, rocketito, BachFan

    That's what the law says.  Gonzales is just making a statement of fact.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:02:08 PM PDT

    •  To clarify: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bawbie, walkshills

      the issue of the attorney firings is not a legal one - the President does have the legal right to fire any of his employees at any time.  It's an issue of ethics and abuse of power.  Impeachment of Gonzales would probably run along the lines of having politicized the DoJ.

      Gonzales' statement was one of legal fact.  He's trying to justify an unethical conduct by saying it's perfectly legal.

      He's not saying "the President did it."  He's saying that attorney firings are perfectly within the President's legal rights.  

      So I think the title of this diary is very misleading.  Gonzales is purposefully not addressing the issue,  but he's not pointing a smoking gun at the president, either.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:14:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Further clarification - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        walkshills

        sorry, I keep forgetting to say everything I need to in one comment.

        As Attorney General, Gonzales is the representative of the president on matters legal.  So Gonzales can invoke the president's right to fire employees as a stand-in for his own right to fire employees.  That's why I don't see much in this comment.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:16:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Incorrect. (4+ / 0-)

          As Attorney General, Gonzales is the representative of the president on matters legal.

          The Attorney General is the representative of the people on matters legal.  The White House counsel is the representative of the President on legal matters.

          "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

          by GTPinNJ on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:21:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you're correct, pico (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico

          It was spin to deflect the idea there was wrong doing, especially in the face of potential wrong doing. This will be one of the talking points.

          However, GTPinNJ is correct that the AG represents the people, not the president. He's conflating his old position as Presidential counsel with the AG responsibilities. And that particular problem has been explored in other diaries.

          BTW Gonzales looked horrible, like he hadn't slept or he'd been on a two-day drunk. He certainly didn't look like the invincible patron.

          Illumination is cheap around here.

          by walkshills on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:27:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes he is. (0+ / 0-)

        Why would he say it at a big public press conference?  That's my whole point.  Even as a general statement of fact.

        "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:23:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  right now on cspan 2 (7+ / 0-)

    Schumer is ripping Gonzales up bad!!!!!

    I am proud to be Mexican American.  I am not proud of Alberto Gonzales.  What ashame.

    Es un sin vergüenza!

  •  impeachment for USA scandal is comfortable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    for the establishment b/c it allows Bush to be removed for reasons that can be traced back to Bush, Rove, Gonzales, etc. as individuals.

    It avoids the thorny issues of complicity that impeachment for the Iraq War, FISA and other big Constitutional issues.

    If you are interested in the politics of Proviso Township in Cook County, Illinois, visit Proviso Probe.

    by Carl Nyberg on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:02:23 PM PDT

    •  You didn't finish the thought (7+ / 0-)

      It avoids the thorny issues of complicity that impeachment for the Iraq War, FISA and other big Constitutional issues...

      ...that the media was complicit in enabling.

      "Why don't newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye" - Jack Johnson

      by bawbie on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And are still complicit in enabling (0+ / 0-)

        How many of you have heard much about Halliburton moving their headquarters, and incidentally, all their corporate records, to Dubai?

        The biggest problem with corporate media is they rarely tell people what they need to know, and even if they do, they sure as heck won't give any context.

        Thank The FSM for blogs!

        Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

        by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:19:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I heard quite a bit about Halliburton (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Carl Nyberg, madhaus, churchlady

          going to Dubai, but I watched Countdown and the Daily Show last night.

          Jon Stewart nailed the Dubai thing, btw.  Just nailed it:  (paraphrasing)"Dubai is what would happen if Saudi Arabia and Las Vegas had a baby".

          "Why don't newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye" - Jack Johnson

          by bawbie on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:40:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think this is a weak weak diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, kmiddle

    Not only are these words not true according to the constitution, but it is an impeachable offense.

    How can you make a statement like that with no supporting argument whatsoever?  

    According to the constitution and the laws of this country, the presidents cabinet, the USAs and others all serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed AT ANY TIME.

    The reason for the remove MAY, in some severe cases, violate a law, or may be unethical, but technically he's right.  The president can remove any political appointee for any reason.

    "Why don't newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye" - Jack Johnson

    by bawbie on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:02:41 PM PDT

    •  I would not have diaried it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      curtadams

      if no one on any site or in any media had mentioned it.  I think it's important that he said it, and I have updated to reflect the constitutionality.  Yes it is a weak diary, but what he said is critical.

      "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:07:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a stretch (0+ / 0-)

        to say that "Bush did it."  Plenty of Bush's henchmen do things supposedly in his name, but we know that Shrubya is not a details guy.  Or a "hard work" guy.  Heck, this is the sort of thing he'd consider "butt-covering."  The only thing he cares about is disloyalty to him.

        Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

        by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:21:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bawbie's right... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bawbie, curtadams, pico, BachFan

      all political appointees serve "at the pleasure" of the president. Which means, when he says "go", you "go". And, as the President's representative at DOJ, the AG is delegated that duty/responsibility.  

      However, firing someone because they weren't ideologically "pure" enough is certainly grounds for Senate investigations. And if wrongdoing (ie, political pressure to fire someone who isn't 'playing ball' sufficiently) is discovered, well then, that's a whole other kettle of fish. As Nixon found out back in the 1970s. Why oh why does history keep looping back to Nixon?

      Of course, the vast majority of you great unwashed Kossacks out there probably don't realize that you can be fired by your boss at any time for any reason whatsoever. If you live in an "at will" state, the only things off limits are illegally discriminating against you because of age, sex, race, etc. Everything else is fair game ("Ted, I told you to buy blue folders and you bought yellow -- you're gone!").

      The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

      by kmiddle on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:12:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not a lawyer (7+ / 0-)

    but I found this:

        The Supreme Court first addressed the question of such removal restrictions in Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), which involved a statute that required the President to obtain the Senate's advice and consent before removing a Postmaster of the first, second, or third class. The Myers  Court held that Congress may not limit the President's authority to remove any officer who is appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Id.  at 159. Several years later, the Court narrowed this holding significantly, ruling that the Constitution only prohibits removal restrictions with respect to "purely executive" officers. See Humphrey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602, 627-28 (1935). The Court held that, as to offices that are essentially quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial in nature, Congress may limit the President's removal authority. Some years later, the Court addressed the related question of whether, in the absence of an express statutory provision, a removal restriction could be inferred. The Court ruled that such restrictions could be inferred with respect to quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial offices "whose tasks require absolute freedom from Executive interference." Wiener v. United States, 357 U.S. 349, 353 (1958). Following this framework, we opined that Parole Commissioners -- whose term is fixed by a statute that is silent on the topic of removal -- are purely executive officers; therefore, inferring a limit the President's authority to remove them would violate the Constitution. As such, we concluded that Parole Commissioners must be removable at will.

    "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

    by ilyana on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:04:32 PM PDT

    •  And to that I say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Politburo, ilyana

      Why do you think Bush nominated a toady like Harriet Miers to the flippin' Supreme Court?

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:16:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A U.S. Attorney (0+ / 0-)

      isn't quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial, as far as I know. In Humphrey's Executor, the court said that a Federal Trade Commissioner is quasi-legislative, but that's because he actually has rulemaking authority. A U.S. Attorney is pretty powerful since he can subpoena whoever he pleases, but he probably falls under 'purely executive' because he can't issue regulations or court opinions.

      •  Doesn't a US Attorney (0+ / 0-)

        act in a quasi-judicial position while conducting an investigation determining whether or not to prosecute?

        "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

        by ilyana on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 01:14:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not likely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ReEnergizer

          A judge doesn't decide whether or not to prosecute; that's up to a prosecutor. The judge can only rule on the merits. And the flipside is: a prosecutor can't issue an opinion or impose legal sanctions or a legal remedy; that's a job for someone in a judicial position (or 'quasi-judicial' position, like an administrative law judge).

          •  Here's just one case (0+ / 0-)

            that refers to the prosecutor in a quasi-judicial postion:

              4. "The prosecuting attorney occupies a quasi-judicial position in the trial of a criminal case. In keeping with this position, he is required to avoid the role of a partisan, eager to convict, and must deal fairly with the accused as well as the other participants in the trial. It is the prosecutor's duty to set a tone of fairness and impartiality, and while he may and should vigorously pursue the State's case, in so doing he must not abandon the quasi-judicial role with which he is cloaked under the law." Syl. Pt. 3, State v. Boyd, 160 W.Va. 234, 233 S.E.2d 710 (1977).

            "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

            by ilyana on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 10:17:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Your comment: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mspicata, pico

    Not only are these words not true according to the constitution, but it is an impeachable offense.

    Please point out in the Constitution it says the President is not allowed to fire or remove any Justice Department official at his discretion. I hate to be agreeing with anyone in the administration because I'd like to see the end of it asap, but to be fair:

    Artical II: Section 2

    He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

    The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

    •  That's appointment isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

      Does that say anything about firing them?

      "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:11:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reef the dog, pico

        It says nothing about firing. The Court has generally interpretted that absence to mean that the President can fire people for whatever reason.

        •  Well it may not be unconstitutional (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Politburo, madhaus, curtadams

          and i have updated the diary to reflect that, but it is impeachable.

          "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

          by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:13:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It certainly is impeachable (0+ / 0-)

            The charge is obstruction of justice.

            Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

            by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:17:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please elaborate on how firing (0+ / 0-)

              7 lawyers constitutes obstruction of justice. I am not trying to play devil's advocate at all because I'd love to see Bush impeached. Make the case.

              •  What it does (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus

                is it hinders any ongoing investigations that were being undertaken by the USA and it also influences the succeeding USA into not proceeding with any such investigations or prosecutions.  It improperly politicizes the Justice Department.

                "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

                by GTPinNJ on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:29:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Absolutely (0+ / 0-)

                  Given the stats of how charges against government agencies were filed by Gonzalez's USAs (almost 80% of charges against Democrats), and what happened to USAs who investigated Republicans (fired), there's what I'd call a "preponderance of evidence."

                  Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

                  by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:33:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The investigation is taking place now (0+ / 0-)

                  after and because of the firings. So far I have not seen he fired them to cover up a crime, I see the firings because of political reasons and patronage. Is that ethical? No. Is it covering up an ongoing USA government investigation? What investigation? They were fired because the prosecutors were not investigating what the republicans wanted them to. That's not illegal, just evil and unethical. Finally, I hate to bust your bubble but do a little research into what Clinton did as president when it came to firing US Attorneys. Again, I don't stick up for the prez. However, if you are going to go to the House to draw up articles of Impeachment, don't waste anyone's time.

                  •  Abramoff. (0+ / 0-)

                    Go check out TPM.

                    "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:41:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  First of all (0+ / 0-)

                      what the hell does Abramoff have to do with the president's right to fire his employees and be convicted for obstruction of justice for this particular issue? Second, what the hell is TPM?

                      •  He fired one of the USA's (0+ / 0-)

                        because she was running an investigation of Abramoff. TPM is Josh Marshall's site, he's all over it.  Sorry if I was rude (?)

                        "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                        by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:56:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wait a sec (0+ / 0-)

                          Wasn't Abramoff and Scanlon investigated and forced to plead guilty? So he fired someone as revenge for doing their job. Ok, definitely unethical. It isn't illegal for the president to fire her. She could sneeze wrong and the president can fire someone in the Executive branch. Unless Josh Marshall is a Constitutional lawyer, he will have to make the same "legal" case. You weren't being rude. You are making your case. Unfortunately, if you try to prosecute a sitting president with impeachment where the House has a 30 seat democratic majority not predisposed to impeach, and a Senate around 50/50, you really have to have a proven instance of illegal activity that a lawyer can't argue against to convict on those grounds.

                          •  Tazz have you read the emails? (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm guessing not.  The firings were purely political.

                            "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 01:07:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Look, I am not saying this episode (0+ / 0-)

                            does not make the administration look bad, look evil, look petty, look unethical. It does. Absolutely. However, you may have a case against Gonzales for lying to Congress, acting in bad faith germane to administering his department as the top law enforcement official of the land. There is definitely a case against him. It is his job to protect the nation against unwarranted political intrusion into the affairs of law enforcement and the pursuit of justice. However, you have a better chance to impeach Bush on the war issues than this one.

                  •  He fired 'em all at once! (0+ / 0-)

                    Yes I heard that except it's not true.  He just appointed new ones, he didn't fire them all at once.  Completely different than this.  Why the irritable tone?

                    "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:57:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  tazz you are so busted (0+ / 0-)

                    Finally, I hate to bust your bubble but do a little research into what Clinton did as president when it came to firing US Attorneys.

                    Here's some research smarty pants, from carpetbaggerreport:

                    Today, a number of far-right blogs have picked up on the same talking point, and even the traditional media is picking up on it, with NBC’s Kevin Corke repeating the meme this morning.

                    I had hoped this nonsense, debunked last week, would have disappeared by now, but it seems to be the only talking point White House allies can come up with.

                    The argument is premised on a mistaken understanding of how the process works. When a president takes office, he or she nominates federal prosecutors at the beginning of the first term. Under normal circumstances, these U.S. Attorneys serve until the next president is sworn in.

                    In 1993, Clinton replaced H.W. Bush’s prosecutors. In 2001, Bush replaced Clinton’s prosecutors. None of this is remotely unusual. Indeed, it’s how the process is designed.

                    The difference with the current scandal is overwhelming. Bush replaced eight specific prosecutors, apparently for purely political reasons. This is entirely unprecedented. For conservatives to argue, as many are now, that Clinton’s routine replacements for H.W. Bush’s USAs is any way similar is the height of intellectual dishonesty. They know better, but hope their audience is too uninformed to know the difference.

                    "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 01:59:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  *Not* just for political reasons (0+ / 0-)

                      It was to prevent just investigations of Republicans and enable unjust investigations of Democrats. It was specifically intended to obstruct justice. The firings Bush did at the beginning of his term were political (intended to give Republicans these plum jobs) but were not thought criminal at the time because most people thought he was just replacing honest Dems with honest Repubs. Similar beginning-of-term mass firings by Clinton and Reagan were political, but not criminal.

              •  It isn't just those seven (0+ / 0-)

                It's who wasn't fired as well... it's all the investigations that were dropped.  Check out New Hampshire, some politico (Republican of course) checked into the airport with a LOADED GUN in his briefcase, gee, now why wouldn't the USA file any charges despite all those requests?  It was the Missouri case that disappeared when Griffin was moved into Arkansas to take over from Cummins (because Cummins would not drop the charges).

                You want more?  There's plenty more.  Talkingpointsmemo.com (Josh Marshall's site) has been all over every aspect of this story.

                Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

                by madhaus on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:35:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  You are dealing with wishful thinking (0+ / 0-)

        You want this to be an illegal wrong governed by the Constitution. Wanting it to be and actually being are two different things in this regard. What you actually do is undermine your credibility by making a false assumption. All Executive Department personnel, though some being approved by Congress as to their hiring, serve at the president's discretion. It's a bitch, but it is what it is.

    •  the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

      isn't naive.  Gonzo is correct that the President has the appointment powers.  But as the 'faithful execution of the laws' clause and US vs Miers court case shown in other comments here say- the appointment power is restricted in a way that the interests of justice are to be served.

      Renewal, not mere Reform.

      by killjoy on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:38:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nixon (11+ / 0-)

    From the Articles of impeachment,  

    Article 2

    Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.
    This conduct has included one or more of the following:

    ...

    1. In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, of the Department of Justice, and the Central Intelligence Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis added.)

    Clearly there is precedent for Congress to impeach a President for ordering the dismissal of Justice Department officials in furtherance of a scheme to obstruct investigations.

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:10:23 PM PDT

  •  First Presidential Impeachment (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, pico, cwaltz, Crisitunity

    Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act such that President Andrew Johnson could not fire his Cabinet during Reconstruction.  He decided to boot Secretary of War Stanton, which led to his impeachment.  He was acquitted by one vote.  That particular law was never before the Supreme Court, although if it had been, it would likely have been ruled a political question at the time.

    Flash forward 60 years to Myers v. United States in 1926.  Congress passed a law saying that the President could not fire certain inferior officers.  He fired a postmaster, who was covered by the law.  The politically sensitive Reconstruction was over.  Held: he can fire inferior officers in the Executive Branch at his pleasure.

    U.S. Attorneys are inferior officers.  Abu Gonzalez is not.  So, Gonzalez was correct that the President can fire U.S. Attorneys at any time.  It's far more likely than not that he can fire Gonzalez as well, even if the Supreme Court has not reached that specific question.

    •  really? (0+ / 0-)

      it would likely have been ruled a political question at the time.

      A Congressional restriction on executive power would have been punted as a political question?

      I don't know much about the Court from that time, so you may very well be right on.. it just doesn't sound right to me, though.

  •  Dare I hope (0+ / 0-)

    That we can start removing these corrupt people from office now?

  •  It *could* be impeachable (0+ / 0-)

    You'd have to show the firings were part of a crime, like obstruction of justice. If you could should that an attorney was canned to prevent an investigation, then you potentially have an impeachable offense....

  •  I apologize for the weak diary again. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    But you would not even know he said it otherwise.

    It is not just a throwaway statement he made either.

    Not by a long shot.

    Explain to me why he would say that because I haven't heard one valid reason to bring the President into it, unsolicited.

    Again this was a seperate, pointed statementat the very end of the conference.

    "Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by reef the dog on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:27:31 PM PDT

  •  And here is what makes this unconstitutional: (8+ / 0-)

    Article 2 - The Executive Branch

    Section 3 - State of the Union, Convening Congress

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
    (Emphasis added.)

    While this provision is rather vague, it is plainly obvious that the dismissal of justice department officials for political reasons in such a way as would hinder ongoing investigations is a failure to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" and therefore in violation of the President's Constitutional duties.

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

    by GTPinNJ on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 12:27:37 PM PDT

  •  In the "unitary presidency" theory (0+ / 0-)

    "the President" doesn't refer to some guy named George Bush, it refers to the collective executive branch as a whole. Gonzales might just as well be referring to Cheney, or himself, as to Bush.

  •  Back to high school (0+ / 0-)

    Whether the president can remove any appointee for any reason was the issue in dispute in the case of Marbury vs. Madison.

    The decision basically ducked the issue by declaring the law that Congress passed to protect the people Jefferson fired unconstitutional, establishing the right of judicial review:  "It is the role of this court to declare what the law is."

    But the outcome was that Jefferson (and his Secretary of State, Madison) were allowed to make stand their nullification of Adams' appointments of Federalists to certain posts on the last day of his presidency.

    As a retired Foreign Service Officer, I was one of about 100,000 people who serve at the pleasure of the President, and whose appointment and promotions had to be approved (pro forma) by the Senate.  This does not apply to civil service employees, who are protected by law.

    U.S. Attorneys are not protected, and their appointments specifically say -- as did mine -- that they serve at the pleasure of the President.  Thus, as a matter of law alone, Gonzales is correct.  This is why, in fact, independent prosecutors have been appointed to investigate wrongdoing by senior White House officials and the President.  Given the President's dismissal authority, it has been considered a conflict of interest for USDA's to investigate their boss.

    What is different this time is that the culture of corruption that the Republicans have brought to both the White House and the Congress has been so pervasive that USDA's could do nothing but investigate and prosecute Republicans for the rest of the Bush term, and the next two, besides.

    The question here is not just the legality of the dismissals per se, but the legality of the influence that the White House and Congressional Republicans have exerted to determine who gets investigated.  Republican electoral fraud is thus ignored, and Democratic electoral fraud invented, at the behest of Karl Rove and Tom Delay.

    And the Democrats STILL can't bring themselves to bring Rove before a panel and spend the rest of the term explaining his repeated violations of the law, or impeaching Cheney for his proven treason.

    "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." from The Emperor's General, by James Webb

    by Noziglia on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 08:48:20 PM PDT

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