Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The New York Times > AP > National > Alberto Gonzales to Replace Ashcroft

The New York Times > AP > National > Bush Picks Alberto Gonzales to Replace Ashcroft at Justice Dept.:
"Gonzales has been at the center of developing Bush's positions on balancing civil liberties with waging the war on terrorism -- opening the White House counsel to the same line of criticism that has dogged Ashcroft. "

instance, Gonzales publicly defended the administration's policy -- essentially repudiated by the Supreme Court and now being fought out in the lower courts -- of detaining certain terrorism suspects for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts.

He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it expected the Senate to closely examine those issues during confirmation hearings. The ACLU said it had no position on Gonzales, but added: "Particular attention should be devoted to exploring Mr. Gonzales' proposed policies on the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, the Guantanamo Bay detentions, the designation of United States citizens as enemy combatants and reproductive rights."

Mr. Gonzales went on to say that the war against terrorism, "in my judgment renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners."

Given the allegations of mistreatment of some detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and the scandal over the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, some senators can be expected to ask the nominee whether he still embraces those views.

Mr. Gonzales wrote memos which basically said that the President had the power to authorise torture. Ashcroft complained to Bush that these measures were unconstituional. Now Ashcroft's gone and Gonzales is nominated. This tells me that though Ashcroft was the “lightening rod”, Bush was the true source of our constitutional threat.
con·cept: The New York Times > AP > National > Alberto Gonzales to Replace Ashcroft