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Olson Not The Next AG:

Whether or not the President chooses to nominate Ted Olson as the next U.S. Attorney General, it appears he will not get the job. Earlier today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to block Olson's confirmation if he is nominated. "He's a partisan, and the last thing we need as an attorney general is a partisan," said Reid.

Ryan Frank (mail):
Given the effectiveness of Reid in passing his proffered legislation thus far, just because he doesn't want something to happen, doesn't mean its not going to happen.

That being said, I like Olson, but since he argued Bush v. Gore, good luck getting him confirmed.
9.12.2007 9:48pm
TRE:
He gave a terrible commencement speech
9.12.2007 9:54pm
Dave in the Corn (mail):
Ryan, in the Senate it's a lot tougher to pass something than to block something...

Given the difficulty of getting Olson confirmed as the SG in 2001 (he was only confirmed 51-47 in 2001), I find it doubtful that Bush will be successful in getting him confirmed as AG in a Dem-controlled Senate...
9.12.2007 10:11pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
I hear Chemerinsky is looking for a job,
9.12.2007 10:17pm
Enoch:
A partisan, eh? So Harry promises us that the next Democratic president will not appoint any Democrats to the cabinet?
9.12.2007 10:25pm
Minipundit (mail) (www):
Kieran - I'm a fan of that idea. While we're at it, let's make Larry Tribe his deputy and give Kathleen Sullivan OLC. I think Harry Reid might not object.
9.12.2007 10:29pm
Mr. X (www):
The Administration is in a pretty tight spot. One would have to have a significant amount of loyalty to the Republican Party to be willing to accept the job of Attorney General at this point. At the same time, in the wake of Alberto Gonzales' resignation, the Senate leadership is going to be even less inclined than usual to make the confirmation process easy.

I can't think of anyone who would be willing to take the job who would be acceptable to the Senate. Anyone else?
9.12.2007 10:41pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
He could always have a perpetual acting attorney general instead of going through a hopeless confirmation process. Isn't Webb Hubbell looking for work?
9.12.2007 10:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
That's right: the President might appoint a Republican to be AG. Horrors.

I think Bush ought to go for it. A few weeks of fuss about appointing a guy who was SG, who is pretty widely respected, and whose wife was killed in the Pentagon on 9/11, and the Congress might get down to zero approval.
9.12.2007 10:52pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
How about a recess appointment?
9.12.2007 10:57pm
Old33 (mail):
A partisan, eh? So Harry promises us that the next Democratic president will not appoint any Democrats to the cabinet?

If the next Democratic president seeks to appoint an attorney who was involved in a baseless and vindictive witchhunt to take down a president and undo two national elections, then yes, I'd expect cries of partisanship from the GOP.

There's legitimate political debate. Then there's the "Arkansas Project."
9.12.2007 11:32pm
GV:
I think it's fairly disgusting that so many are using the fact that this guy's wife was murdered as a credential. I guess it's a shame she wasn't tortured by the terrorists before she was killed! That would have made Olson even more qualified!

Given that the reason the current AG is about to be the former AG is his inability to act indepedently of the President, shouldn't we be more concerned about somebody who was the SG? I mean, there's a lot of smart Republican lawyers out there. Would it be so hard to try to select somebody who the public can trust won't believe loyalty to the President is the number one job priority?
9.12.2007 11:35pm
magoo (mail):
Sentence first, hearing afterward.

Or, as they say in the westerns, let's give him a fair hearing, and then hang him.
9.12.2007 11:58pm
Malvolio:
I think it's fairly disgusting that so many are using the fact that this guy's wife was murdered as a credential.
Uh, why? Isn't first-hand experience (even as a victim) with the problem at hand usually considered a credential?

My pediatrician has kids. My librarian can read. If the head of my DoJ has lost a family member to crime, he is thereby more qualified.
9.13.2007 12:01am
Giovanni:
What Reid doesn't seem to have been told is that Olson is actually one of the "adults" among the lawyers who have worked in this Administration. He is a Republican, for sure, but he's got good judgment and he's not a moron. Pretty much the anti-Gonzales, and also the anti-Addington.
It's too bad "Crystal Ball" Reid has decided to flap his yap again to prematurely spout supposed certitudes. He does a disservice to a distinguished man with an honorable career who was willing to take on the thankless task of cleaning up after Fredo in an administration that has 17 months to go. Reid looks petulant and small by comparison.
9.13.2007 12:16am
Houston Lawyer:
I say nominate him and let the senators act like the asses that they are. If they won't confirm him, they won't confirm anyone else. A recess appointment would be more than adequate.
9.13.2007 12:21am
Bruce:
Malvolio: I don't want to meet your psychiatrist.
9.13.2007 12:39am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):


I say nominate him and let the senators act like the asses that they are. If they won't confirm him, they won't confirm anyone else. A recess appointment would be more than adequate.


Someone suggested letting Reid and his cohorts have their hearings and bring their approval rating to 0%. I think Olson's a fine choice for AG but if Harry Reid wishes to follow in Tom Daschle's footsteps, by all means.
9.13.2007 12:41am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

won't believe loyalty to the President is the number one job priority


Loyalty to the President is the number one job priority of a Cabinet member, any Cabinet member. To any president.
9.13.2007 12:45am
Mark Field (mail):

My pediatrician has kids. My librarian can read. If the head of my DoJ has lost a family member to crime, he is thereby more qualified.


Is your genealogist a time traveler?
9.13.2007 12:53am
Gaius Marius:
I'm glad to see that U.S. Senators like Harry Reid who profit from questionable land deals are going to protect the public from "partisan" Attorney Generals.
9.13.2007 12:57am
Kelvin McCabe:
So Malvolio - by your specious reasoning, he isnt only qualified to be AG, he could also be put in charge of the dept of homeland security because he has first hand experience with domestic terrorist attacks. How marveously ridiculous.

How the hell does having a family member killed make him more qualified as AG than someone equally as educated, experienced, etc...? The death adds exactly nada - And if i interpret Reid's position correctly, it seems that the larger argument is that Gonzo was once the president's personal counsel...and when he took on the more "independent" job of AG, he still acted as Bush's personal lawyer and we all saw the result. The solicitor general to a lesser extent suffers from the same flaw gonzo does...not enough perceived independence from the administration, on behalf of which he has argued some very "novel" legal theories (i realize he was just doing his job). Real or even perceived independence from the white house is probably the one thing almost everyone agrees needs to be sought in the new AG precisely because of the performance &shenanigans of the outgoing AG. Even if its for a limited time. But hell, if Bush wants to taint the dept of justice's reputation even more than he already has and instill even more public discontent - by all means, nominate him. After all, he is a uniter not a divider!
9.13.2007 1:04am
Anderson (mail):
I can't think of anyone who would be willing to take the job who would be acceptable to the Senate.

Not to mention that anyone actually prone to enforce the laws would be unacceptable to Cheney.
9.13.2007 1:25am
Sasha:

Given the effectiveness of Reid in passing his proffered legislation thus far, just because he doesn't want something to happen, doesn't mean its not going to happen.

That being said, I like Olson, but since he argued Bush v. Gore, good luck getting him confirmed.

The Senate was designed to block legislation (appointments count), not pass them. It's remarkably easy for Reid to block Olson if he wants to.
9.13.2007 1:34am
scote (mail):

Loyalty to the President is the number one job priority of a Cabinet member, any Cabinet member. To any president.

Hopefully, the new AG's loyalty to upholding the constitution will supersede his loyalty to the President.

We are a government of laws, not men. The Bush administration is a personality cult of men who ignore--or rationalize away--laws.
9.13.2007 1:34am
Jiffy:

Loyalty to the President is the number one job priority of a Cabinet member, any Cabinet member. To any president.



I think you meant to substitute "Premier" for "President" and "Politburo" for "Cabinet"
9.13.2007 1:52am
MMarty (mail):
How could any candidate acceptable to Mr. Bush be acceptable to Reid and the political hacks behind Reid.
The question about Reid that I'd like to have answered is who's mob connections are more powerful, Reid's, Pelosi''s or Guiliani's?
9.13.2007 1:56am
Andrew Janssen (mail):


Hopefully, the new AG's loyalty to upholding the constitution will supersede his loyalty to the President.

We are a government of laws, not men. The Bush administration is a personality cult of men who ignore--or rationalize away--laws.



Hear, hear. FWIW, my personal belief is that in a perfect world, members of the Cabinet should have as their first priority loyalty to the Constitution, then loyalty to the Office of the President comes second, and personal loyalty to the man or woman who happens to be occupying that office should come third.
9.13.2007 2:02am
therut:
He could appoint his brother. It has been done before. That way the AG would not be there for political purposes. That was all the rage in the time of Camelot. Someone ask ole Harry if that would be a good idea???
9.13.2007 2:38am
Public_Defender (mail):
You'd think Bush could find someone untainted by the US Attorney scandal. If Olsen is nominated, the dems should subpoena the administration and Olsen's law firm over the firm's role in hiring away the US Attorney who was investigating one of its clients, Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis. If the law firm or the Bush administation fight the subpoenas, the dems will have a good reason to old off a vote.

Bush wants a loyal Bushie. The dems want someone who can say "no" to the administration. Good luck. Acting AG Clement should feel free to unpack his boxes.
9.13.2007 6:11am
wb (mail):
There is no reason that Bush should send a nomination to the Senate. Unless the political comedy show is desired. Just go directly to a recess appointment regardless of who is selected.
9.13.2007 8:38am
Morat20 (mail):
Heavens forbid the Senate should reject a Bush candidate. After all, his others have turned out so well.

With a track record like his -- Meiers, Gonalzed, Michael Brown -- I think the Senate should just rubber-stamp anyone he nominates.

Seriously, a fight over the AG's office was expected. If Bush didn't want one, he could have done the same thing all President's have done -- private back and forth with the ranking chair of the Judiciary committee, and then float a candidate whose confirmation was already in the bag.

It's how Clinton got judges nominated, even during the worst of the Clinton/GOP Congress conflict.

Bush doesn't negotiate, though. It's not his style. Admitting that the Senate has some say in who gets appointed goes against the tenets of his Presidency, which is "He's the decider".
9.13.2007 9:13am
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
I think Comey's testiomony about the NSA / FISA / Gonzales matter pretty much tells you what you need to know about Olson's integrity and suitability for the job. That Gonzales and Card wouldn't even let him in Card's office to voice his opinion that the program didn't meet legal muster, speaks volumes. Apparently, he isn't exactly a good company man. Based on Reid's prior exgesis of Justice Thomas' work, I'm not really sure he's a good judge of legal acumen... like that matters in this latest pronouncement.
9.13.2007 9:13am
MacGuffin:
One would have to have a significant amount of loyalty to the Republican Party to be willing to accept the job of Attorney General at this point.

Why's that? Do you think only Republicans could have an interest in restoring the function and credibility of the DoJ?
9.13.2007 10:42am
A.S.:
Recess appointment: would it end this December or next December (which is essentially the end of the Bush Presidency anyway)?

Couldn't Bush also go the Bill Lann Lee route, and just appoint Olson "Acting" AG for the rest of the term?

In any case, what is the downside to Republicans if Bush nominates Olson, now? Planning ahead for President Hillary, shouldn't Republican Senators want a precedent where they can veto anybody Hillary nominates even before the official nomination is made? After all, the day after Hillary's election, won't there be an article in the paper floating, say, Walter Dellinger, Deval Patrick and Jamie Gorelick as potential Attorney Generals. It would be great if Mitch McConnell could say "no, no, and no" that very day, using this precedent, right?
9.13.2007 11:14am
Anon. Lib.:
Its well known that Reid and other Democrats find Olson unacceptable because of the Arkansas project.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_Project

If a prominent attorney associated with the Democratic party participated in a scheme funded to publicize baseless and vicious rumors about George Bush --- such as, for example, that he caused the death of a close friend and advisor in order to cover up a fraudulent land deal --- conservatives would not trust him to impartially enforce the law as the AG.
9.13.2007 11:44am
srg:
Anderson,

Did Cheney opposed Ashcroft?
9.13.2007 12:19pm
srg:
Whoops...of courese I meatn "oppose."
9.13.2007 12:20pm
NickM (mail) (www):
That "article" is a prime example of why Wikipedia is not a reliable source.
At the most indisputable level, misspelling Ted Olson's name once could be a typo. Misspelling it 5 of the 7 times it's used is a sign of lack of understanding of the subject.

Reid doesn't necessarily have the power he thinks he does here. If one Democrat on the Judiciary Committee breaks ranks (most likely bets are Feingold or Feinstein), the nomination makes it to the Senate floor. He wouldn't have a majority against it on the floor (for starters, Ben Nelson wouldn't oppose it, and Mary Landrieu isn't likely to fight the administration on anything high-profile), and filibustering the appointment of a highly regarded person like Ted Olson to be AG could be politically damaging to the Democrats.

Nick
9.13.2007 4:28pm
The General:
Olsen wasn't involved in the "Arkansas Project," he was merely on the board of the Spectator at the time. He was subsequently confirmed for Solicitor General and these bogus attempts to tarnish his character failed. Stop trying to smear this guy. Clinton got impeached because he was a liar and a slimeball. MOVEON!
9.14.2007 7:06pm
The General:
Democrats are afraid to have an honest effective Attorney General under Bush because it will help Bush lead the country, to which they are opposed (Speaking of trying to overturn 2 elections...!) It also contrasts with the utter incompetence and jackbootthuggery that was the Reno reign at Justice.
9.14.2007 7:08pm
Mr. X (www):
Why's that? Do you think only Republicans could have an interest in restoring the function and credibility of the DoJ?


No, but I think only a loyal Republican would be willing to accept a 14-month political appointment from President Bush to try. Plenty of other people want the DoJ back on track but aren't willing to torpedo their careers and fight against a dysfunctional administration to do it.
9.15.2007 9:38am