Stephen Bainbridge, UCLA School of Law:
"Cruising around the blogosphere, one notes proposals that John Ashcroft be replaced by as Attorney General such legitimate luminaries as Randy Barnett or Fred Thompson. Sorry, guys. Blogospheric prognostication has proved fallible. Bush just went with the conventional wisdom pick: White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. No real surprise there. Bush tends to be very loyal and he goes a long way back with Gonzales. Bush's willingness to go out on a limb for old friends is especially relevant in this case, given Gonzales' involvement in the so-called torture memos and long-ago representation of Enron, which will prove more than a little controversial. Note, however, than an appointment fight now over the AG slot will defang those issues for what I believe is Gonzales' inevitable eventual Supreme Court nomination. Because those issues will have been ventilated this time around, next time Gonzales and his supporters can brush them aside as "asked and answered." In addition, of course, having spent time as AG will add to Gonzales' stature. There's no guarantee that this approach will work, of course, but I'd bet quite a lot that it is part of the White House strategy in naming Gonzales.
If so, they don't need Gonzales to spend a lot of time as AG. If all the current justices hold on to the end of this term (next June) and some then step down, Gonzales will have been AG for six months or so, and be well positioned for one of the resulting slots. The bad issues on his resume will have been recently dealt with, and thus difficult to justifiably rehash (not that that will necessarily stop some from trying), while he will have enough time in the new job for some added resume luster…." [November 10, 2004; Professor Bainbridge.com has more]
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