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Friday, April 27, 2007

U.S. Attorneys: Take a chance on thee

Posted by: Hammer / 8:19 AM

Reading this note over at TPM about the appointment of Rachel Paulose got me to remembering:

In any case, how'd Paulose get her job? To date, her predecessor Heffelfinger has been alternately coy and noncomital about why he left, though he has recently denied being forced to resign. That however has not silenced speculation in Minneapolis that he was in fact forced out to make room for the rapidly-rising Paulose.

That reminded me of this exchange between Alberto Gonzales and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL):

Gonzales: And the first opportunity, the first concrete time, opportunity that came up was with respect to Mr. Griffin in the Eastern District of Arkansas. And I had conversations with Senator Pryor, and I told Senator Pryor, "We're going to put in Tim Griffin in an interim basis. I want to see how he does. You should see how he does. Let's see how he does."

...What changed here was that, eliminating the 120-day requirement, that I had told Senator Pryor I wanted Mr. Griffin in for a period of time. Let's see how he does. And then in a subsequent conversation with Mr. Pryor, I asked him, "Can you support Mr. Griffin as the nominee?"

Then there was this follow-up with Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

GONZALES: Was that we wanted to put Mr. Griffin in, on an interim basis. I didn't know Mr. Griffin that well. And I wanted to see how he did. And I recall telling him...

The U.S. attorney spot is not -- repeat, NOT -- a place for trying out guys to see what they can do. It's an important position in federal law enforcement. It's a position that should be earned, not proffered as a mere test. I mean, say Griffin was a complete failure as a U.S. attorney. What's the worst thing that could happen? A few innocent people go to prison, a few guilty people go free. Who would care about that?

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