Tim's Law | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tim's Law

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 11:09 AM

The Senate today approved the bill removing the White House's ability to appoint U.S. attorneys for indefinite periods without Senate confirmation. The vote was 94-2.

The bill now goes to the House, where Republicans may attempt to slow progress, but where Democrats are solidly in control and there is no filibuster.

When the House passes it -- and unless the president vetoes it -- it takes effect on the president's signature. And from that point, U.S. attorneys in temporary appointments will be able to serve no more than 120 days. Then, absent a permanent replacement, judges will appoint acting U.S. attorneys, as they had for years.

Will Tim Griffin of Little Rock, whose selection by his mentor Karl Rove for this political career-building job started this controversy, hang on for the full four months? As he appears to share George Bush's unwillingness to admit mistakes, perhaps so. He'd do better to leave swiftly and gracefully and aim for political martyrdom. Should he plan a political career, his political activities in Florida in 2000 and 2004 remain subject for discussion. After flatly denying all in earlier interviews, he's now on the record with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker as an admitted, proud "cager" of selected voter groups. How were they chosen? What was the racial makeup of those identified? What were the outcomes in voter participation? Does it pass the smell test? These are among the questions that made the Justice Department decide to try to put Griffin in office without a confirmation hearing. Thanks to Sen. Mark Pryor's dogged pursut, they also led to the unmasking of  nakedly political and questionable meddling by the White House with prosecutors across the U.S. Soon, it all should lead to the departure of Alberto The Torturer. (NEWS UPDATE: The White House said today it would let K. Rove and other aides speak in private, unsworn and without records kept on this matter. Big wup.)

The least we can do is bestow this legislation with the name it deserves: "Tim's Law."

Pryor statement on the jump

STATEMENT FROM SEN. MARK PRYOR

Today, the Senate took a significant first step toward restoring justice at the Justice Department, and it did so by an overwhelming margin. Allowing interim U.S. attorneys to serve for a limited 120 days is a reasonable solution and has worked for over 100 years.  Additionally, today’s vote of 94-2 should send a strong message to the Administration about the importance of the Senate confirmation process as well as respect for restraint. The President can also take part in restoring Americans trust by nominating a candidate for Attorney General who will place the pursuit of justice above politics.

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