The President Can Fire at Will (or at Dick or at Jane)
By Jerome Grossman
I can’t get excited about the hubbub concerning the forced resignations or firings of the eight United States attorneys. This mini-tempest is another example of the incompetence of the Bush Administration, once again shooting itself in the foot.
This is one of the least of the Bush sins which include
1. Indefinite detention of prisoners without charges
2. Torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions
3. F.B.I. surveillance of U.S. Citizens
4. Wiretapping without warrants
5. Manipulation of military intelligence
6. Secret prisons in foreign countries
7. Refusal to enforce congressional legislation
8. And many other acts and programs at home and abroad
Democrats in Congress should note that they are fighting this skirmish on Bush turf. The President appoints these attorneys without congressional input and can fire them at will (or at Dick or at Jane). Furthermore, this tempest gives the President the opportunity to support the hapless Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who may not be a very good lawyer and administrator, but is the highest ranking American of Hispanic descent in the nation. Right or wrong, the President will help the Republican party with this fast-growing constituency by defending Gonzales. And this controversy changes the news cycle away from the Iraq War, the greatest Bush failure, at least for a few days.
It is strange that the firings were coordinated in a sort of massacre of attorneys. If they had been spaced and consummated individually over a period of months, the changes would hardly have been noticed; would have appeared routine.
Is it possible that the plan was to include a ninth U.S.Attorney? One who was given the Bush Administration the most trouble, transforming a routine investigation into a perjury conviction of a prominent and trusted White House official, I. Lewis Libby? Was Patrick Fitzgerald to be the ninth fired, and did the White House chicken out at the last minute?