Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More about attorneys

Over at Sam Smith's Undernews, I saw this wondered what the implications are... Evidently on the Senate floor this morning, Senator Dianne Feinstein from California alleges that President Bush is canning federal prosecutors across the country.
Recently, it came to my attention that the Department of Justice has asked several U.S. Attorneys from around the country to resign their positions -- some by the end of this month -- prior to the end of their terms not based on any allegation of misconduct. In other words, they are forced resignations.

I have also heard that the Attorney General plans to appoint interim replacements and potentially avoid Senate confirmation by leaving an interim U.S. Attorney in place for the remainder of the Bush administration.

How does this happen? The Department sought and essentially was given new authority under a little known provision in the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization to appoint interim appointments who are not subject to Senate confirmation and who could remain in place for the remainder of the Bush administration.

To date, I know of at least seven U.S. Attorneys forced to resign without cause, without any allegations of misconduct. These include two from my home State, San Diego and San Francisco, as well as U.S. Attorneys from New Mexico, Nevada, Arkansas, Texas, Washington and Arizona.

In California, press reports indicate that Carol Lam, U.S. Attorney for San Diego, has been asked to leave her position, as has Kevin Ryan of San Francisco. The public response has been shock. Peter Nunez, who served as the San Diego U.S. Attorney from 1982 to 1988, has said, ‘This is like nothing I've ever seen in my 35-plus years.’
My gut tells me this is something of importance, but I'm not sure my mind sees what's really going on. Anyone want to help me out here?

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