LAWFUEL -The Legal Newswire – By Dahlia Lithwick – The looming announcement of the president’s pick to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general has occasioned speculation about which prominent attorney on President Bush’s short list could easily be confirmed. Michael Chertoff is out. Ted Olson is a front-runner. This makes for some fascinating inside-baseball chatter—how much of a fight is the president looking for, and how much will Olson have to account for his alleged ties to the Arkansas Project? But the chatter misses an important opportunity for an overdue public conversation about the role of the president’s lawyers, be it White House counsel, the attorney general, or elsewhere in the Justice Department.
A confirmation fight in a vacuum—one that does not include a good, hard look at what happened to the Justice Department under Gonzales, how to fix it, and the proper role of attorneys and attorneys general in a national security crisis—is a lost chance. Nobody believes the cancer at Justice is gone with Gonzales’ departure, so now is the time to reflect soberly on what kind of lawyering at the top will cure what ails DoJ.