Playing politics with justice | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 29, 2007

Playing politics with justice

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 1:27 PM

New U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin of Little Rock -- put in place by a Bush administration bypass of the Senate confirmation process to replace a rudely booted Bud Cummins -- is not mentioned by name in this article from McClatchy newspapers. But he's in the group of appointees that one legal expert said was being rewarded for its political work for the Bush administration. That description certainly fits Griffin, a hard-nosed opposition researcher for Karl Rove.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is transforming the ranks of the nation's top federal prosecutors by firing some and appointing conservative loyalists from the Bush administration's inner circle who critics say are unlikely to buck Washington.

The newly appointed U.S. attorneys have impressive legal credentials, but most of them have few, if any, ties to the communities that they have been appointed to serve, and some have little experience as prosecutors.

The nine recent appointees identified by McClatchy Newspapers held high-level White House or Justice Department jobs, and most of them were handpicked by Gonzales under a provision of the Patriot Act that became law in March that stripped federal judges of their appointment power.

With Democrats now in control of Congress, critics fear that Gonzales is trying to skirt the need for Senate confirmation by giving U.S. attorneys interim appointments for indefinite terms. Some legal scholars say the administration pushed for the change in the Patriot Act as part of its ongoing attempt to expand the power of the executive branch, a charge that administration officials deny.

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