Saying that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “either doesn’t accept or doesn’t understand that he is no longer just the president’s lawyer, but has a higher obligation to the rule of law and the Constitution,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for Gonzales to resign today on Face the Nation. You can see the video on ThinkProgress.
An editorial in the New York Times today says essentially the same thing. It calls for Gonzales to step down because he “never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency.” Gotta love the Times.
The Times makes it clear that Gonzales has got to go not just because of this new flap with the fired U.S. Attorneys and not because of the F.B.I.’s newly exposed overreach in gathering information about Americans. It’s because of his body of work.
It was Mr. Gonzales, after all, who repeatedly defended Mr. Bush’s decision to authorize warrantless eavesdropping on Americans’ international calls and e-mail. He was an eager public champion of the absurd notion that as commander in chief during a time of war, Mr. Bush can ignore laws that he thinks get in his way. Mr. Gonzales was disdainful of any attempt by Congress to examine the spying program, let alone control it.
The attorney general helped formulate and later defended the policies that repudiated the Geneva Conventions in the war against terror, and that sanctioned the use of kidnapping, secret detentions, abuse and torture. He has been central to the administration’s assault on the courts, which he recently said had no right to judge national security policies, and on the constitutional separation of powers.
His Justice Department has abandoned its duties as guardian of election integrity and voting rights. It approved a Georgia photo-ID law that a federal judge later likened to a poll tax, a case in which Mr. Gonzales’s political team overrode the objections of the department’s professional staff.
The Justice Department has been shamefully indifferent to complaints of voter suppression aimed at minority voters. But it has managed to find the time to sue a group of black political leaders in Mississippi for discriminating against white voters.
The Bush Administration has a long history of naming appointees to oversee areas they once lobbied on. It would make sense, then, that the Attorney General “more than anyone in the administration, except perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney… symbolizes Mr. Bush’s disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.”