Running out the clock -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 16, 2007

Running out the clock -- UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2007 at 12:54 PM

Maybe I gave Rep. John Boozman too much credit the other day for criticizing the White House use of interim appointments for U.S. attorney in Little Rock, where Karl Rove's pet, Tim Griffin, was installed.

He's issued a new news release on the subject today. He reiterated that he's working to come up with a slate of nominees for the post, since Griffin won't deign to be questioned by senators in the traditional confirmation process. How soon will he submit them? Boozman doesn't say.

But Boozman did take pains to note what a wonderful fellow Griffin is (his vote suppression work in Florida is not mentioned, naturally). He also invokes the Republican catch-phrase of the day, that the U.S. attorney "serves at the pleasure of the president." More significantly, Boozman suggests Arkansans shouldn't get their hopes up for a speedy choice  to lead the administration of justice in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

"Many factors, such as the short term the future U.S. attorney could potentially serve, are having an effect on the development of the list. In my discussions with Sen. Pryor, he has indicated that, under the best of circumstances, a nominee could take anywhere from six to nine months to be confirmed by the Senate."

If Boozman drags his feet long enough on nominations, he could easily extend the appointment of a permanent U.S. attorney into the final months of Bush's term. He's right. That would make the job mostly meaningless.

So, a compromise is clearly in order. Tim Griffin should resign and remove his Rovian taint from the corridors of Justice in Little Rock. Any one of several qualified careeer prosecutors in the office can be named as acting chiefs until the position is filled, either by Bush or by the new Democratic president in 2009.

UPDATE: We'd mentioned before that Bud Cummins, dismissed in favor of Griffin, had once been dispatched to investigate potential corruption involving the Republican governor of Missouri. The LA Times today has a long story on it and Cummins' rumination that it might have had something to do with his dismissal. Seems strange somehow. He took unusual pains to exonerate the Republican publicly shortly before a hot U.S. Senate race in Missouri. UPDATE: Here, Bud Cummins says LA Times didn't get his meaning right.

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