So Long Mr. Gonzales, and Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!
For what they may be worth, these are my thoughts on the announced resignation of U.S. Attorney General Gonzales.
During the Gonzales tenure, I have been highly critical of many of his decisions and actions that I and many others believe repeatedly have violated the laws and Constitution of the United States.
I agree with Timothy Lynch, director of the libertarian Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice, who also has been one of Gonzales's longtime critics. He noted the resignation as welcome news for two reasons.
First, Gonzales has given the President terribly wrong legal advice on a range of constitutional and legal issues, from habeas corpus to military tribunals to the PATRIOT Act. Second, Gonzales has relayed a pattern of misleading statements on a host of issues to Congress, the courts, and the public.
In "Gonzales Must Go," an op-ed written in May, Lynch said: "Truth be told, Gonzales's tenure is more scandalous even than the mess he created by firing eight federal prosecutors. ...Even outside of the context of the war against al-Qaeda, Alberto Gonzales has been an embarrassment. In area after area - from habeas corpus to separation of powers to executive responsibility - he has sought to strip out the limits that the Constitution places on presidential power. His fiasco regarding the firing of federal prosecutors is a petty offense when compared to the legal advice that he has conveyed to the President. The real scandal is his disregard for constitutional principles." (You can read his full views yourself by clicking here .)
What also needs to be said is that while Gonzales himself can and should be faulted, the responsibility for his actions and for the repeated violations of the Constitution must be attributed to President Bush, who nominated him and who has acquiesced in these acts and events.
We can only hope that whoever succeeds Gonzales, the United States Department of Justice and the government as a whole will return to the rule of law from which this administration has deviated in ways unprecedented in our nation's history.