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Alberto Reynaldo Gonzales


In office
February 3, 2005 – September 17, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by John Ashcroft
Succeeded by Michael Mukasey

In office
January 20, 2001 – February 3, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Beth Nolan
Succeeded by Harriet Miers

In office
1999–2000
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Raul A. Gonzalez
Succeeded by Wallace B. Jefferson

In office
1997–1999
Governor George W. Bush
Preceded by Antonio Garza, Jr.
Succeeded by Elton Bomer

Born August 4, 1955 (1955-08-04) (age 54)
San Antonio, Texas
Political party Republican
Alma mater Rice University
Harvard Law School
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1973-1975

Alberto Reynaldo Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) was the 80th Attorney General of the United States. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush. While Bush was Governor of Texas, Gonzales had served as his general counsel, and subsequently he served as Secretary of State of Texas and then on the Texas Supreme Court. From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel.[1] Amid several controversies and allegations of perjury before Congress, on August 27, 2007 Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General, effective September 17, 2007.[2][3] In August 2009, Gonzales began teaching a political science course at Texas Tech University. He will also serve as the diversity recruiter for the Texas Tech University System.

Contents

Personal background

Alberto Gonzales was born to a Catholic family[4] in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Humble, a town outside of Houston. Of Mexican descent, he was the second of eight children born to Pablo and Maria Gonzales. His father, who died in 1982, was a construction worker. According to Gonzales, no immigration documentation exists for three of his grandparents and thus they may have entered and resided in the United States illegally from Mexico.[5]

An honors student at MacArthur High School in unincorporated Harris County, Gonzales enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1973, for a four year term of enlistment, serving two years at Fort Yukon, Alaska before released from active duty to be a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy.[6] Prior to beginning his third year at the academy, which would have caused him to incur a further service obligation, he left the Academy and was released from the enlistment contract, then he transferred to Rice University in Houston, where he was a resident of Lovett College[7], and earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1979.[8] He then earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.

Gonzales has been married twice: he and his first wife, Diane Clemens, divorced in 1985; he and his second wife, Rebecca Turner Gonzales, have three sons.

Early career

Gonzales was an attorney in private practice from 1982 until 1994 with the Houston law firm Vinson and Elkins, where he became a partner. Gonzales worked primarily with corporate clients, especially ENRON CORP and was recommended for appointment to the Texas Supreme Court by Kenneth Lay, the ENRON CORP CEO who was later convicted of money laundering and fraud. In 1994, he was named general counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, rising to become Secretary of State of Texas in 1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, both appointments made by Governor Bush.

Outside of his political and legal career, Gonzales was active in the community. He was a board director of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast from 1993 to 1994, and President of Leadership Houston during this same period. In 1994, Gonzales served as Chair of the Commission for District Decentralization of the Houston Independent School District, and as a member of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions for Rice University. He was chosen as one of Five Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Jaycees in 1994. He was a member of delegations sent by the American Council of Young Political Leaders to Mexico in 1996 and to the People's Republic of China in 1995. He received the Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent. In 1999, he was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

As counsel to Governor Bush, Gonzales helped Bush to be excused from jury duty when he was called in a 1996 Travis County drunk driving case. The case led to controversy during Bush's 2000 presidential campaign because Bush's answers to the potential juror questionnaire did not disclose Bush's own 1976 misdemeanor drunk driving conviction.[9] Gonzales's formal request for Bush to be excused from jury duty hinged upon that, as Governor of Texas, he might be called upon to pardon the accused in the case.

As Governor Bush's counsel in Texas, Gonzales also reviewed all clemency requests. A 2003 article in The Atlantic Monthly asserts that Gonzales gave insufficient counsel, and failed to second-guess convictions and failed appeals. Only one death sentence was over-turned by Governor Bush, and the state of Texas executed more prisoners during Gonzales's term than any other state.[10][11]

War on Terror

The Executive Order 13233, drafted by Gonzales and issued by George W. Bush on November 1, 2001 shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, attempted to place limitations on the Freedom of Information Act by restricting access to the records of former presidents.

Gonzales authored a controversial memo in January 2002 that explored whether Article III of the Geneva Convention applied to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and held in detention facilities around the world, including Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The memo made several arguments both for and against providing Article III protection to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He concluded that Article III was outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He described as "quaint" the provisions that require providing captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters "commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments". He also argued that existing military regulations and instructions from the President were more than adequate to ensure that the principles of the Geneva Convention would be applied. He also argued that undefined language in the Geneva Convention, such as "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment", could make officials and military leaders subject to the War Crimes Act of 1996 if mistreatment was discovered.[12]

In 2004, when this memo was leaked to the press, Gonzales said about the memo in Senate confirmation hearings that "… I don't recall today whether or not I was in agreement with all of the analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the department."[13]

Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream jet carrying David Addington, Gonzales, John Rizzo, William Haynes II, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Jose Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia to view Yaser Esam Hamdi.[14]

According to a New York Times report, despite a public legal opinion issued in December 2004 that declared torture "abhorrent," that shortly after Gonzales became Attorney General in February 2005 that the Justice Department issued another, secret opinion which for the first time provided CIA explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. Gonzales reportedly approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the outgoing deputy attorney general, who told colleagues at the Justice Department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it. According to The Times report, the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums. [15] Patrick Leahy and John Conyers, chairmen of the respective Senate and House Judiciary Committees, requested that the Justice Department turn over documents related to the secret February 2005 legal opinion to their committees for review. [16]

Gonzales also authored the Presidential Order which authorized the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects. He fought with Congress to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy task force documents from being reviewed. Gonzales was also an early advocate of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act.

On June 23, 2006, Gonzales, along with Deputy Director of the FBI John S. Pistole gave a high level press briefing involving the Miami bomb plot to attack the Sears Tower.

On November 14, 2006, invoking universal jurisdiction, legal proceedings were started in Germany for his alleged involvement under the command responsibility of prisoner abuse by writing the controversial legal opinions.[17]

Featured in the 2008 Academy award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side [18]

Attorney General

U.S. President George W. Bush announces his nomination of Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft as the next Attorney General during a press conference in the Roosevelt Room Wednesday, November 10, 2004.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor presents Gonzales to the audience after swearing him in as Attorney General, as Mrs. Gonzales looks on.

Gonzales's name was sometimes floated as a possible nominee to the United States Supreme Court during Bush's first presidential term. On November 10, 2004, it was announced that he would be nominated to replace United States Attorney General John Ashcroft for Bush's second term. Gonzales was regarded as a moderate compared to Ashcroft because he did not oppose abortion or affirmative action.

The departure from the conservative viewpoint elicited strong opposition to Gonzales that started during his Senate confirmation proceedings at the beginning of President Bush's second term. The New York Times quoted anonymous Republican officials as saying that Gonzales's appointment to Attorney General was a way to "bolster Mr. Gonzales's credentials" en route to a later Supreme Court appointment.[19]

The nomination was approved on February 3, 2005, with the confirming vote largely split along party lines 60–36 (54 Republicans and 6 Democrats in favor, and 36 Democrats against, along with 4 abstentions: 3 Democrat and 1 Republican).[20] He was sworn in on February 14, 2005.

Speculation over a Supreme Court nomination

Shortly before the July 1, 2005 retirement of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O'Connor, rumors started circulating that a memo had leaked from the White House stating that upon the retirement of either O'Connor or Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist, that Gonzales would be the first nominee for a vacancy on the Court.

Quickly, conservative stalwarts[21] such as National Review magazine[22] and Focus on the Family, among other socially conservative groups, stated they would oppose a Gonzales nomination.[23]

Much of their opposition to Gonzales was based on his perceived support of abortion rights; typically, they cited his place in the majority opinions of various Texas Supreme Court rulings in a series of In re Jane Doe cases from 2000 that ordered lower courts to reconsider minor women's requests for a "judicial bypass" provided in a provision of Texas' parental notification law, and in one case (43 Tex. Sup. J. 910), granted the bypass that allowed the girl to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents. Gonzales wrote concurring opinions in two of these cases: In re Jane Doe 3 (43 Tex. Sup. J. 508) and In re Jane Doe 5 (43 Tex. Sup. J. 910). For In re Jane Doe 3 he concurred, on the legal grounds that the lower court had issued its ruling only one business day after the Texas Supreme Court had issued guidance on what the applicant for a judicial bypass must prove, with the differently reasoned majority opinion to remand the case to the lower courts.

For In re Jane Doe 5 his concurring opinion began with the sentence, "I fully join in the Court's judgment and opinion." He went on, though, to address the three dissenting opinions, primarily one by Nathan L. Hecht alleging that the court majority's members had disregarded legislative intent in favor of their personal ideologies. Gonzales's opinion dealt mostly with how to establish legislative intent. He wrote, "We take the words of the statute as the surest guide to legislative intent. Once we discern the Legislature's intent we must put it into effect, even if we ourselves might have made different policy choices." He added, "[T]o construe the Parental Notification Act so narrowly as to eliminate bypasses, or to create hurdles that simply are not to be found in the words of the statute, would be an unconscionable act of judicial activism" and "While the ramifications of such a law and the results of the Court's decision here may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the Legislature."

Political commentators had suggested that Bush forecast the selection of Gonzales with his comments defending the Attorney General made on July 6, 2005 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Bush stated, "I don't like it when a friend gets criticized. I'm loyal to my friends. All of a sudden this fellow, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire. And so, do I like it? No, I don't like it, at all." However, this speculation proved to be incorrect, as Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

After the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist on September 3, 2005, creating another vacancy, speculation resumed that President Bush might nominate Gonzales to the Court. This again proved to be incorrect, as Bush decided to nominate Roberts to the Chief Justice position, and on October 3, 2005, nominated Harriet Miers as Associate Justice, to replace Justice O'Connor. On October 27, 2005, Miers withdrew her nomination, again renewing speculation about a possible Gonzales nomination. This was laid to rest when Judge Samuel Alito received the nomination and subsequent confirmation.

On September 11, 2005 U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter was quoted as saying that it was "a little too soon" after Gonzales's appointment as Attorney General for him to be appointed to another position, and that such an appointment would require a new series of confirmation hearings.

Controversies

Under Gonzales's leadership, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been accused of improperly, and perhaps illegally, using the USA PATRIOT Act to uncover personal information about U.S. citizens.[24] His inability to explain his role and influence in the dismissal of U.S. attorneys led several members of the United States Congress from both major political parties to call for his resignation. Through his testimony before Congress on issues ranging from the Patriot Act to U.S. Attorney firings, he commonly admitted ignorance.[25] For example, in response to a Washington Post article which stated that Gonzales was told about FBI violations involving the Patriot Act, Justice officials "could not immediately determine whether Gonzales read any of the FBI reports in 2005 and 2006."[26]

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
(  )
Articles
G. W. Bush administration officials involved
Involved administration officials who resigned
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress

On December 7, 2006, seven United States attorneys were notified by the United States Department of Justice that they were being dismissed, after the George W. Bush administration sought their resignation.[27] One more, Bud Cummins, who had been informed of his dismissal in June 2006, announced his resignation on December 15, 2006 effective December 20, 2006 upon being notified of Tim Griffin's appointment as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.[28][29][30] In the subsequent congressional hearings and press reports, it was disclosed that additional U.S. attorneys were dismissed without explanation to the dismissee in 2005 and 2006, and that at least 26 U.S. attorneys were at various times considered for dismissal.[31]

Although U.S. attorneys can be dismissed at the discretion of the president, critics claimed that the dismissals were either motivated by desire to install attorneys more loyal to the Republican party ("loyal Bushies", in the words of Kyle Sampson, Gonzales’s former chief of staff) or as retribution for actions or inactions damaging to the Republican party. At least six of the eight had received positive performance reviews at the Department of Justice.[32] There were various hearings and testimony offered in January through March. Criticism increased upon the release of emails by Gonzales's chief of staff Kyle Sampson, which showed extensive communication between Sampson and White House officials Harriet Miers. Sampson resigned, but the emails indicate that a number of statements from the Department of Justice, including those made by Gonzales himself, were inaccurate.

In a press conference on March 13, Gonzales suggested that "incomplete information, was communicated or may have been communicated to the Congress" and he accepted full responsibility.[33][34] Nonetheless, Gonzales avowed that his knowledge of the process to fire and select new US attorneys was limited to how the US attorneys may have been classified as "strong performers, not-as-strong performers, and weak performers." Gonzales also asserted that was all he knew of the process, saying that "[I] was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the Attorney General."[33]

The record of the Justice Department released on March 23 appeared to contradict Gonzales's assertions, indicating that on November 27 "he attended an hour-long meeting at which, aides said, he approved a detailed plan for executing the purge."[35] Despite insisting that he was not involved in the "deliberations" leading up to the firing of the attorneys, newly released emails also suggest that he had indeed been notified and that he had given ultimate approval.

In a testimony to Congress on April 19, 2007, Gonzales insisted that he was only indirectly involved and left the decisions to his staff. However, ABC News obtained an internal department email showing that Gonzales urged the ouster of Carol Lam, one of the fired attorneys, six months before she was asked to leave.[36] During actual testimony on April 19, Gonzales stated at least 71 times that he couldn't recall events related to the controversy.[37]

His response frustrated the Democrats on the committee, as well as several Republicans. In a meeting in November 2006, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, and a staunch ally of the Bush administration, expressed his frustration. The firings were purportedly discussed, but Gonzales did not remember such discussion. As reported by the Washington Post, the dialogue went as follows:

GONZALES: Well, Senator, putting aside the issue, of course, sometimes people's recollections are different, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Battle's testimony [about the November meeting].
SESSIONS: Well, I guess I'm concerned about your recollection, really, because it's not that long ago. It was an important issue. And that's troubling to me, I've got to tell you.
GONZALES: Senator, I went back and looked at my calendar for that week. I traveled to Mexico for the inauguration of the new president. We had National Meth Awareness Day. We were working on a very complicated issue relating to CFIUS.
GONZALES: And so there were a lot of other weighty issues and matters that I was dealing with that week.[38]

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who had been the first lawmaker to call for Gonzales's ouster, declined to ask his last round of questions. Instead, a visibly angry Schumer said there was no point to further questioning since Gonzales had stated "over a hundred times" that he didn't know or couldn't recall important details concerning the firings, and also didn't seem to know about the workings of his own department. Gonzales responded that the onus was on the committee to prove whether anything improper occurred. Schumer replied that Gonzales faced a higher standard, and that under this standard he had to give "a full, complete and convincing explanation" for why the eight attorneys were fired.[39]

In August 2009, White House documents released showed that Rove raised concerns directly with Gonzales and that Domenici or an intermediary may have contacted the Justice Department as early as 2005 to complain.[1] In contrast, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007: "I don't recall . . . Senator Domenici ever requesting that Mr. Iglesias be removed."[2]

Controversy over the right to writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution

On January 18, 2007, Gonzales was invited to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he shocked the committee's ranking member, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, with statements regarding the right of habeas corpus in the United States Constitution.[40] An excerpt of the exchange follows:

GONZALES: The fact that the Constitution—again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme—
SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The Constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?[41]

Senator Specter was referring to 2nd Clause of Section 9 of Article One of the Constitution of the United States which reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." This passage has been historically interpreted to mean that the right of habeas corpus is inherently established.[42]

As Robert Parry writes in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel:

Applying Gonzales’s reasoning, one could argue that the First Amendment doesn’t explicitly say Americans have the right to worship as they choose, speak as they wish or assemble peacefully.

Ironically, Gonzales may be wrong in another way about the lack of specificity in the Constitution’s granting of habeas corpus rights. Many of the legal features attributed to habeas corpus are delineated in a positive way in the Sixth Amendment…[43]

NSA Domestic eavesdropping program

In a December 2005 article[44][45] in The New York Times, it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without proper warrants. This led to an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility in the Justice Department. This investigation was shut down after the President[46] denied investigators the security clearances necessary for their work. Some critics have alleged that the President did so in order to protect Gonzales from the internal probe.[47]

According to May 15, 2007, testimony by the former deputy attorney general, James B. Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee (as reported in the New York Times[48]) on the evening of March 10, 2004, Mr. Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr. (then Mr. Bush’s chief of staff) tried to bypass him by visiting Mr. Ashcroft. The purpose of this visit was to reauthorize the secret wiretapping program, which Comey (as acting AG) had refused to reauthorize. (Mr. Ashcroft was extremely ill and disoriented, Mr. Comey said, and his wife had forbidden any visitors.)

In walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly, and then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there, to seek his approval for a matter. I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.[49]

Comey’s testimony laid out that "contrary to Gonzales's assertion, there was significant dissent among top law enforcement officers over a program Comey would not specifically identify."[49] He added that some "top Justice Department officials were prepared to resign over it."[49]

In a preview of his book "The Terror Presidency" to be published later in September 2007, Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, corroborates many of the details of Comey's Senate testimony regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital room visit of Gonzales and Card on former Attorney General Ashcroft. Jeffrey Rosen writes this in the September 9, 2007 issue of The New York Times Magazine of his extended interview with Goldsmith, who was also in the hospital room that night:[50]

As he recalled it to me, Goldsmith received a call in the evening from his deputy, Philbin, telling him to go to the George Washington University Hospital immediately, since Gonzales and Card were on the way there. Goldsmith raced to the hospital, double-parked outside and walked into a dark room. Ashcroft lay with a bright light shining on him and tubes and wires coming out of his body.
Suddenly, Gonzales and Card came in the room and announced that they were there in connection with the classified program. “Ashcroft, who looked like he was near death, sort of puffed up his chest,” Goldsmith recalls. “All of a sudden, energy and color came into his face, and he said that he didn’t appreciate them coming to visit him under those circumstances, that he had concerns about the matter they were asking about and that, in any event, he wasn’t the attorney general at the moment; Jim Comey was. He actually gave a two-minute speech, and I was sure at the end of it he was going to die. It was the most amazing scene I’ve ever witnessed.”
After a bit of silence, Goldsmith told me, Gonzales thanked Ashcroft, and he and Card walked out of the room. “At that moment,” Goldsmith recalled, “Mrs. Ashcroft, who obviously couldn’t believe what she saw happening to her sick husband, looked at Gonzales and Card as they walked out of the room and stuck her tongue out at them. She had no idea what we were discussing, but this sweet-looking woman sticking out her tongue was the ultimate expression of disapproval. It captured the feeling in the room perfectly.”

On Tuesday, July 24, Gonzales testified for almost four hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He appeared to contradict the sworn account of James B. Comey regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital room meeting with John Ashcroft.

Mr. Comey's testimony about the hospital visit was about other intelligence activities—disagreement over other intelligence activities. That's how we'd clarify it.[49]

Gonzales was confronted by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who told him "That is not what Mr. Comey says; that is not what the people in the room say."[49] Gonzales responded "That's how we clarify it."[49]

The response to Gonzales's testimony by those Senators serving on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees was one of disbelief. Russ Feingold, who is a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said, “I believe your testimony is misleading at best,” which Sheldon Whitehouse—also a member of both committees—concurred with, saying, “I have exactly the same perception.” Chuck Schumer said Gonzales was "not being straightforward" with the committee. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said, “I just don’t trust you,” and urged Gonzales to carefully review his testimony. The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, said to Gonzales, “Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable.” Leahy and Specter's comments were interpreted as warnings that Gonzales might have been perjuring himself. After the meeting, Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said Gonzales was being "untruthful." Rockefeller's sentiments were echoed by Jane Harman, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, who accused Gonzales of "selectively declassifying information to defend his own conduct."[51]

On July 26, 2007, the Associated Press obtained a four-page memorandum from the office of former Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte dated May 17, 2006, which contradicted Gonzales's testimony the previous day regarding the subject of a March 10, 2004 emergency Congressional briefing which preceded his hospital room meeting with former Attorney General John Ashcroft, James B. Comey and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr..[52]

On that same day, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S. Mueller III also seemed to dispute the accuracy of Gonzales's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of the previous day regarding the events of March 10, 2004 in his own sworn testimony on that subject before the House Judiciary Committee.[53]

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) asked Mueller "Did you have an opportunity to talk to General Ashcroft, or did he discuss what was discussed in the meeting with Attorney General Gonzales and the chief of staff?" He replied "I did have a brief discussion with Attorney General Ashcroft." Lee went on to ask "I guess we use [the phrase] TSP [Terrorist Surveillance Program], we use warrantless wiretapping. So would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?" He responded "It was—the discussion was on a national—an NSA program that has been much discussed, yes."[49]

On Thursday, August 16, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee released the heavily-redacted notes[54] of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III regarding the Justice Department and White House deliberations of March, 2004 which included the March 10, 2004 hospital-room visit of Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr. on John Ashcroft in the presence of then-acting Attorney General James B. Comey. The notes list 26 meetings and phone conversations over three weeks—from March 1 to March 23—during a debate that reportedly almost led to mass resignations at the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. [55]

In July 26, 2007 a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement, Senators Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Russ Feingold and Sheldon Whitehouse urged that an independent counsel be appointed to investigate whether Gonzales had perjured himself in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the previous day. "We ask that you immediately appoint an independent special counsel from outside the Department of Justice to determine whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress," the letter read in part.[56]

On Wednesday, June 27, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the United States Department of Justice, the White House, and Vice President Dick Cheney seeking internal documents regarding the program's legality and details of the NSA's cooperative agreements with private telecommunications corporations. In addition to the subpoenas, committee chairman Patrick Leahy sent Gonzales a letter about possible false statements made under oath by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings before the committee the previous year.[57] In an August 17, 2007 reply letter to Leahy asking for an extension of the August 20 deadline [58] for compliance, White House counsel Fred Fielding argued that the subpoenas called for the production of "extraordinarily sensitive national security information," and he said much of the information—if not all—could be subject to a claim of executive privilege. [59] On August 20, 2007, Fielding wrote to Leahy that the White House needed yet more time to respond to the subpoenas, which prompted Leahy to reply that the Senate may consider a contempt of Congress citation when it returns from its August recess.[60]

On July 27, 2007, both White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino defended Gonzales's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony regarding the events of March 10, 2004, saying that it did not contradict the sworn House Judiciary Committee account of FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, because Gonzales had been constrained in what he could say because there was a danger he would divulge classified material.[61] Lee Casey, a former Justice Department lawyer during the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, told the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that it is likely that the apparent discrepancy can be traced to the fact that there are two separate Domestic Surveillance programs. "The program that was leaked in December 2005 is the Comey program. It is not the program that was discussed in the evening when they went to Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital room. That program we know almost nothing about. We can speculate about it. …The program about which he said there was no dispute is a program that was created after the original program died, when Mr. Comey refused to reauthorize it, in March 2004. Mr. Comey then essentially redid the program to suit his legal concerns. And about that program, there was no dispute. There was clearly a dispute about the earlier form or version of the program. The attorney general has not talked about that program. He refers to it as "other intelligence activities" because it is, in fact, still classified."[49]

On Tuesday, August 28, 2007—one day after Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General effective September 17—Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy indicated that it would not affect ongoing investigations by his committee. “I intend to get answers to these questions no matter how long it takes,” Leahy said, suggesting that Gonzales could face subpoenas from the committee for testimony or evidence long after leaving the administration. “You’ll notice that we’ve had people subpoenaed even though they’ve resigned from the White House,” Leahy said, referring to Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Karl Rove, who resigned this month as the president’s top political aide. “They’re still under subpoena. They still face contempt if they don’t appear.”[62]

On Thursday, August 30, 2007, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine disclosed in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that as part of a previously ongoing investigation, his office is looking into whether Gonzales made statements to Congress that were “intentionally false, misleading, or inappropriate,” both about the firing of federal prosecutors and about the terrorist-surveillance program, as committee chairman Patrick Leahy had asked him to do in an August 16, 2007 letter. Fine's letter to Leahy said that his office “has ongoing investigations that relate to most of the subjects addressed by the attorney general’s testimony that you identified." Fine said that his office is conducting a particular review “relating to the terrorist-surveillance program, as well as a follow-up review of the use of national security letters,” which investigators use to obtain information on e-mail messages, telephone calls and other records from private companies without court approval.[63]

Texas Youth Commission

Alberto Gonzales, along with U.S. attorney Johnny Sutton, has been accused of failing to act despite strong allegations that teachers, administrators and guards had sex with minor male inmates incarcerated in the Texas Youth Commission program.[64]

Objectivity

Gonzales has had a long relationship with former president George W. Bush. Gonzales served as a general counsel when Bush was the governor of Texas. Such relationship made critics question whether he would maintain independence in his administration of the U.S. Department of Justice.[65][66] Gonzales has been called Bush's "yes man". Critics claim that he gave only the legal advice Bush wanted and questioned Gonzales's ethics and professional conduct.[67][68] As a White House counsel, Gonzales signed a controversial memorandum in January 2002 to the president which argued that the Geneva Convention proscriptions on torture do not apply to Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners, and that the limitations on the questioning of prisoners were "obsolete" when it deals with terrorism.[69][70]

Resignation

Calls for resignation

A number of members of both houses of Congress publicly said Gonzales should resign, or be fired by Bush. Calls for his ousting intensified after his testimony on April 19, 2007.

On May 24, 2007, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced the Democrats' proposed no-confidence resolution to vote on whether "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American People." [71] (The vote would have had no legal effect, but was designed to persuade Gonzales to depart or President Bush to seek a new attorney general.) A similar resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).[72]

On June 11, 2007 a Senate vote on cloture to end debate on the resolution failed (60 votes are required for cloture). The vote was 53 to 38 with 7 not voting and 1 voting "present" (one senate seat was vacant). Seven Republicans, John E. Sununu, Chuck Hagel, Susan Collins, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Gordon Smith and Norm Coleman voted to end debate; Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman voted against ending debate. No Democrat voted against the motion. Not voting: Biden (D-DE), Brownback (R-KS), Coburn (R-OK), Dodd (D-CT), Johnson (D-SD), McCain (R-AZ), Obama (D-IL). Stevens (R-AK) voted "present."[73][74]

University of Missouri law professor Frank Bowman[75] has observed that Congress has the power to impeach Gonzales if he willfully lied or withheld information from Congress during his testimony about the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys.[76] Congress has impeached a sitting Cabinet member before; William W. Belknap, Ulysses S. Grant's Secretary of War, was impeached in a unanimous vote by the House in 1876 for bribery, but the Senate fell just short of the votes necessary to convict him. Belknap had resigned before the House vote, and several Senators who voted to acquit him said they did so only because they felt the Senate lacked jurisdiction.

On July 30, 2007, MSNBC reported that Rep. Jay Inslee announced that he would introduce a bill the following day that would require the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation against Gonzales.[77][78]

Resignation announcement

Gonzales and wife Rebecca, with President and Laura Bush at the Prairie Chapel Ranch on August 26, 2007, the day that Gonzales's resignation was accepted.

Gonzales submitted his resignation as Attorney General effective September 17, 2007,[116] by a letter addressed to President Bush on August 26, 2007. In a statement on August 27, Gonzales thanked the President for the opportunity to be of service to his country, giving no indication of either the reasons for his resignation or his future plans. Later that day, President Bush praised Gonzales for his service, reciting the numerous positions in Texas government, and later, the government of the United States, to which Bush had appointed Gonzales. Bush attributed the resignation to Gonzales's name having been "dragged through the mud" for "political reasons".[116] Senators Schumer (D-NY), Feinstein (D-CA) and Specter (R-PA) replied that the resignation was entirely attributable to the excessive politicization of the Attorney General's office by Gonzales, whose credibility with Congress, they asserted, was nonexistent.

Successor

On September 17, 2007, President Bush announced the nomination of ex-Judge Michael B. Mukasey to serve as Gonzales's successor. Bush also announced a revised appointment for acting Attorney General: Paul Clement served for 24 hours and returned to his position as Solicitor General; the departing Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, Peter Keisler was persuaded to stay on, and was appointed acting Attorney General effective September 18, 2007.[117]

Post-resignation

Investigations

Soon after departure from the DOJ in September 2007, continuing inquiries by Congress and the Justice Department led Gonzales to hire a criminal-defense lawyer George J. Terwilliger III, partner at White & Case, and former deputy attorney general under former president G.H.W. Bush. Terwiliger was on the Republican law team involved in Florida presidential election recount battle of 2000.[118]

On October 19, 2007, John McKay, the former U.S. Attorney for Washington's Western District, told The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review that Inspector General Glenn A. Fine may recommend criminal charges against Gonzales.[119]

On November 15, 2007, The Washington Post reported that supporters of Gonzales had created a trust fund to help pay for his legal expenses, which were mounting as the Justice Department Inspector General's office continued to investigate whether Gonzales committed perjury or improperly tampered with a congressional witness.[120]

On September 2, 2008, the Inspector General found that Gonzales had stored classified documents in an insecure fashion, at his home and insufficiently secure safes at work.[121] Some members of Congress criticized Gonzales for selectively declassifying some of this information for political purposes.[121] The Justice Department declined to press criminal charges.[121]

Career

On 13 April 2008, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, writing for the New York Times, reported that Gonzales had been unsuccessful in his efforts to find a job with a law firm.[122] It was seen as extraordinary that a former Attorney General had not been welcomed into a firm, and law firm sources indicated that Gonzales's reputation had been diminished by his role in the dismissal of federal prosecutors, and by the open criticism he had received from Senators and Representatives while testifying about the dismissal of U.S. attorneys and the rights enumerated in the Constitution, and during his testimony about a secret eavesdropping program.

Ongoing investigations by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice are not concluded at this date. His income since he left office on September 17, 2007, has come from speaking engagements. Schools such as Washington University in St. Louis, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida, who have each paid him about $30,000 plus expenses for appearances; business groups are being charged a little more.[122]

Gonzales gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal on December 31, 2008 in which he discussed the effect that controversies in his Bush Administration roles had had on his career and public perception.[123][124] He stated:

For some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.[124][125]

The New York Daily News published an editorial in response to this quote, calling him "Gonzo the Clown" and "delusional and offensive ... in explaining why he believes he is held in such low regard these days."[124]

He stated an intention to write a book about his roles, with the intention of publishing the book "for my sons, so at least they know the story." No publishing company had agreed to promote the book at the time of the interview.[125]

Texas Tech University

On July 7, 2009, Texas Tech University System confirmed that it had hired Gonzales. He acts as the diversity recruiter for both Texas Tech University and Angelo State University.[126] Additionally, at Texas Tech, he teaches a political science "special topics" course dealing with contemporary issues in the executive branch.[127] He began the new job on August 1, 2009.[128] After the announcement, a number of professors at Texas Tech signed a petition opposing the hiring.[129]

Grand jury indictment

Gonzales was charged by a grand jury in Willacy County in Texas. He was accused of stopping an investigation into abuses at a federal detention center. Vice president Dick Cheney and other elected officials were also indicted.[130] All charges were dropped after further investigation.[131]

International investigation

On March 28, 2009, a Spanish court, headed by Baltasar Garzón, the judge who ordered the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, announced it would begin an investigation into whether or not Gonzales, and five other former Bush Justice and Defense officials violated international law by providing the Bush Administration a legal framework and basis for the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Garzón said that it was "highly probable" the matter would go to court and that arrest warrants would be issued. Also named in the Spanish court's investigation are John Yoo, Douglas Feith, and David Addington.[132][133]

Texas Supreme Court opinions

This is a list of opinions in which Alberto Gonzales wrote the majority court opinion, wrote a concurring opinion, or wrote a dissent. Cases in which he joined in an opinion written by another justice are not included. A justice "writes" an opinion if the justice has primary responsibility for the opinion. Justices are assisted by a law clerk who may play an important role in the actual analysis of legal issues and drafting of the opinion. The Texas Supreme Court issued 84 opinions during Gonzales's tenure on the court, according to LexisNexis.

Majority opinions

  • Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation Systems, 996 S.W.2d 864 (Tex. 1999).
  • Texas Farmers Insurance Company v. Murphy, 996 S.W.2d 873 (Tex. 1999).
  • Mid-Century Insurance Company v. Kidd, 997 S.W.2d 265 (Tex. 1999).
  • General Motors Corporation v. Sanchez, 997 S.W.2d 584 (Tex. 1999).
  • In re Missouri Pac. R.R. Co., 998 S.W.2d 212 (Tex. 1999).
  • Mallios v. Baker, 11 S.W.3d 157 (Tex. 2000).
  • Gulf Insurance Company v. Burns Motors, 22 S.W.3d 417 (Tex. 2000).
  • Southwestern Refining Co. v. Bernal, 22 S.W.3d 425 (Tex. 2000).
  • Golden Eagle Archery, Inc. v. Jackson, 24 S.W.3d 362 (Tex. 2000).
  • City of Fort Worth v. Zimlich, 29 S.W.3d 62 (Tex. 2000).
  • Prudential Insurance Company of America v. Financial Review Services, Inc., 29 S.W.3d 74 (Tex. 2000).
  • Texas Department of Transportation v. Able, 35 S.W.3d 608 (Tex. 2000).
  • Pustejovsky v. Rapid-American Corp., 35 S.W.3d 643 (Tex. 2000).
  • John G. & Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Dewhurst, 44 Tex. Sup. J. 268 (2000), withdrawn.[134]

Concurring opinions

  • In re Dallas Morning News, 10 S.W.3d 298 (Tex. 1999).
  • Osterberg v. Peca, 12 S.W.3d 31 (Tex. 2000).
  • In re Jane Doe 3, 19 S.W.3d 300 (Tex. 2000).
  • In re Doe, 19 S.W.3d 346 (Tex. 2000). (This case is popularly referred to as "In re Jane Doe 5".)
  • Grapevine Excavation, Inc. v. Maryland Lloyds, 35 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. 2000).

Partial dissent, partial concurrence

  • Lopez v. Munoz, Hockema, & Reed, 22 S.W.3d 857 (Tex. 1212)

See also


References

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  39. ^ YouTube - Schumer 4
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  46. ^ January 18, 2007 letter from the DOJ's Richard Hertling, see question 171
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  88. ^ Kennedy: Resignation is long overdue
  89. ^ Kerry calls on Bush to fire Attorney General
  90. ^ Lincoln and Pryor call for Gonzales's ouster
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  93. ^ Gonzales not convincing. (April 19, 2007). National Public Radio. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
  94. ^ Gonzales must resign. (April 20, 2007). Press Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
  95. ^ a b Kiely, Kathy; Kevin Johnson (2007-03-15). "Second GOP senator suggests Gonzales should go". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-03-15-gonzales-prosecutors_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  96. ^ Lara Jakes Jordan (2007-04-19). "Gonzales Confronts Call for Resignation". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3057693. 
  97. ^ Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeff Zeleny (2007-03-14). "Mistakes Made on Prosecutors, Gonzales Admits". New York Times. http://coburn.senate.gov/public/?FuseAction=LatestNews.NewsStories&ContentRecord_id=50e65942-802a-23ad-4f05-8a0a45a7a5ec. 
  98. ^ "McCain: It would be best for Gonzales to quit". MSNBC.com (Associated Press). 2007-04-26. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18326002/. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  99. ^ "GOP Senator says Gonzales should consider resigning". 2007-04-20. http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/blogs/politicalticker/2007/04/gop-senator-says-gonzales-should.html. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  100. ^ Kiely, Kathy; Kevin Johnson (2007-03-15). "Second GOP senator suggests Gonzales should go". Washington News (USA Today). http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-03-15-gonzales-prosecutors_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-01. "GOP Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota said he is "deeply concerned about how this whole process has been handled."" 
  101. ^ Schemo, D.J. (April 23, 2007). Gonzales 'bad for Justice Department,' Specter says. Deseret Morning News (UT). Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
  102. ^ Kellman, Laurie (2007-05-16). "Hagel Demands Gonzales's Resignation". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/16/AR2007051600804.html. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  103. ^ Strategist Says Gonzales Is "Finished." (March 15, 2007). CBS News. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
  104. ^ Congressman Paul Gillmor (blog). In B. Roode (March 23, 2007). Gillmor joins in calls for Gonzales to go. Sandusky Register (OH). Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
  105. ^ Goetz, Kaomi (2007-04-05). "Ehlers Says U.S. Attorney General Should Resign". Michigan Radio News (NPR). http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1063390. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  106. ^ "Nevada Republican congressman calls for Gonzales to step down". Las Vegas Sun. 2007-04-21. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2007/apr/21/042110422.html. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  107. ^ "Bipartisan questioning about Gonzales needs to continue". Daily Nebraskan. 2007-04-10. http://media.www.dailynebraskan.com/media/storage/paper857/news/2007/04/10/Opinion/Bipartisan.Questioning.About.Gonzales.Needs.To.Continue-2830956.shtml. Retrieved 2006-04-16. 
  108. ^ "House Republican leader says Gonzales should go". News (Muzi.com). 2007-04-21. http://latelinenews.com/news/ll/english/10041395.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-01. ""[...] I think it is time for fresh leadership at the Department of Justice," Putnam said in a brief telephone interview." 
  109. ^ White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself before panel April 23, 2007
  110. ^ Bogden out for 'wrong reasons': Justice Department called incompetent March 22, 2007
  111. ^ Republican support for Gonzales erodes - Politics - MSNBC.com
  112. ^ Gonzales Fall For Attorney Firings? March 16, 2007
  113. ^ Gonzales rejects calls for resignation March 13, 2007
  114. ^ Bozell III, L. Brent (2007-03-29). "Sunday's Pseudo-Republicans". Media Research Center. http://www.mediaresearch.org/BozellColumns/newscolumn/2007/col20070329.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  115. ^ "Richardson calls for Gonzales resignation". KOB. 2007-04-20. http://kob.com/article/stories/S63120.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  116. ^ a b "Bush Ally Gonzales resigns post". BBC News. 2007-08-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6965602.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  117. ^ Eggen, Dan; Elizabeth Williamson (September 19, 2007). "Democrats May Tie Confirmation to Gonzales Papers". Washington Post: pp. A10. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/18/AR2007091801379.html?nav=rss_politics. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  118. ^ Isikoff, Michael; and Mark Josenball (October 10, 2007). "Gonzales Hires a Top Gun: Still under investigation by Congress and Justice Department lawyers who once worked for him, the former attorney general has turned to a leading Washington attorney to help him beat the rap.". Newsweek. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21224607/site/newsweek/page/0/. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  119. ^ SR.com: Gonzales could be prosecuted, McKay says
  120. ^ Dan Eggen (2007-11-15). "Gonzales Defense Fund Set Up - Former Attorney General's Legal Fees Mount in Probe". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/14/AR2007111402318_pf.html. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  121. ^ a b c Report: Ex-AG Gonzales Mishandled Classified Info by Nina Totenberg. All Things Considered, National Public Radio. September 2, 2008.
  122. ^ a b Lewis, Neil A. (April 13, 2008). "In Searching for New Job, Gonzales Sees No Takers". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/washington/13gonzales.html. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  123. ^ Wall Street Journal (2008). Alberto Gonzales: Interview Excerpts. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  124. ^ a b c Daily News website, opinions archives "Editorial, "Gonzo the Clown,"". Daily News. 5 January 2009. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/01/05/2009-01-05_defiantly_bad_new_yorks_legislature_stub.html?page=1 Daily News website, opinions archives. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  125. ^ a b Perez, Evan (31 December 2008). "Gonzales Defends Role in Antiterror Policies". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123068159621944041.html. 
  126. ^ "Controversial former U.S. Attorney General hired at Texas Tech". Lubbock Avalance-Journal. 2009-07-07. http://lubbockonline.com/stories/070709/loc_460864545.shtml. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  127. ^ "Former AG Gonzales to teach at Texas Tech". Associated Press. 2009-07-07. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iN-gI4ONxjVI7T4qfbKNVki92L4wD999R5783. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  128. ^ Post, Sally (2009-07-07). "Alberto Gonzales Brings Expertise, Experience to Texas Tech". Texas Tech Today. http://today.ttu.edu/2009/07/alberto-gonzales-brings-expertise-experience-to-texas-tech/. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  129. ^ "Inside Higher Ed - Texas Tech Profs Oppose Hiring of Alberto Gonzales". Texas Tech Today. 2009-07-27. http://today.ttu.edu/2009/07/texas-tech-profs-oppose-hiring-of-alberto-gonzales/. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  130. ^ "Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales indicted in S. Texas". Houston Chronicle. 18 November 2008. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6119459.html. 
  131. ^ "Cheney indictment dropped". Los Angeles Times. 2 December 2008. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/02/nation/na-cheney2. 
  132. ^ Marlise Simons (2009-03-28). "Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2009%2F03%2F29%2Fworld%2Feurope%2F29spain.html%3F_r%3D1%26hp&date=2009-05-02. 
  133. ^ "Spain may decide Guantanamo probe this week". Reuters. 2009-03-28. http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINLT53678920090329?sp=true. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  mirror
  134. ^ The Texas Supreme Court granted rehearing and reversed its own judgment, in an opinion written by Justice Hecht. 90 S.W.3d 268 (Tex. 2002).

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Antonio Garza, Jr.
Secretary of State of Texas
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Elton Bomer
Legal offices
Preceded by
Beth Nolan
White House Counsel
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Harriet Miers
Preceded by
Raul A. Gonzalez
Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Wallace B. Jefferson
Preceded by
John Ashcroft
United States Attorney General
Served under: George W. Bush

2005–2007
Succeeded by
Michael Mukasey

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Alberto R. Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) was the 80th Attorney General of the United States, becoming the first Hispanic to serve in the position. He formerly served under U.S. President George W. Bush as White House Counsel. He announced his resignation as Attorney General on 27 August 2007.

Contents

Sourced

  • From the day the President announced my nomination as the Attorney General of the United States three months ago, I have thought often about how to best prepare to meet the awesome responsibilities of this office. Outside these walls, the cries of those powerless souls who are injured, disenfranchised or otherwise aggrieved may indeed be faint. But those same pleas for help echo powerfully within the Department of Justice. Every day, like a steady drumbeat we are asked to provide an answer to a problem, to secure a remedy, to be a champion — and every day this Department responds as it has done so time and time again throughout the history of our beloved America.
    • Remarks at his installation as Attorney General [1] (February 14, 2005)
  • America is my home — I believe in her promise and I will do what I can to secure that promise for future generations of our children. America is great — not because of our military might or our economic strength — but because of the greatness of Americans, and I welcome the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder, side by side with all of you to preserve our heritage rich in "liberty and justice for all."
    • Remarks at his installation as Attorney General

Speech regarding Civil Liberties and the War on Terrorism (November 20, 2006)

Online text of speech, given at the U.S. Air Force Academy

  • To achieve victory at the cost of eroding civil liberties would not really be a victory. We cannot change the core identity of our Nation and claim success. And our identity has never been in doubt — we are a free people, dedicated to liberty for the popular and the unpopular, committed to the ideal that the People govern themselves, and determined to have a government that cannot extinguish or suppress the rights that make us Americans.
  • Free speech. Freedom of association. These values are repulsive to the radical Islamic terrorist. They fear them and suppress them whenever and wherever they can. Yet through those very means, we as a society are protective of that terrorist’s rights. This is ironic, but good. Because, as you well know, America has a unique responsibility to set the global standard for liberty and fair conduct. The world looks to us to set high standards for freedom, and we take that leadership role very seriously. Our commitment to leading by example – on issues from human rights to free speech – is strong. Indeed, other countries strike a different balance between security and freedom, both in the activities they punish as crimes, and in the procedures with which they do so. In some instances, our allies have adopted or utilized some counterterrorism tools that we have not adopted in the United States because doing so would abridge the civil liberties protected by our constitution.
  • It is a myth that the Patriot Act empowers the government to be overly intrusive, giving it power that could someday be used to pry into innocent Americans’ personal lives. The fact is that the Patriot Act was born of a well-established criminal justice and national security structure as well as vibrant bi-partisan debate in Congress, both upon its establishment and its renewal. The Act was written to help the law enforcement and intelligence communities to protect Americans and fight the war on terror. It, in fact, answered the call of career, rank and file law enforcement to update our laws to match law-enforcement tools with modern technology. The Patriot Act simply ensures that law enforcement and national security personnel have the tools they need to keep us safe from terrorism — and in many cases those tools were already available to law enforcement in other contexts — while also ensuring that those tools are consistent with the Constitution and include appropriate safeguards against government over-reaching.
  • The Patriot Act does not authorize the government to go into your house or read your mail without probable cause and a warrant. It does allow law enforcement and intelligence personnel to better share information and better coordinate with each other. It does give national security investigators tools like those criminal investigators have used for years. And it does update the law to keep up with evolving technology and increasingly sophisticated terrorists. Many of the tools in the Patriot Act are identical to those that have been used for years to investigate drug dealers and white-collar crime. They've been used effectively, and they've been used without an adverse impact on civil liberties. So criticism of the Patriot Act has always begged the question: if we can use these tools successfully and prudently in the area of dealing with, say, drug traffickers, why shouldn’t they be used in the war against terrorists who want to import chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to inflict mass civilian casualties?
  • Torture is not tolerated by this country on the battlefield or off. Anyone who tortures or abuses a detainee tarnishes the service of every honorable student and soldier in this room today. The President has said this, and I will say it again: those who commit torture in the name of the United States government will be prosecuted. In any discussion of Guantanamo, detainees and military commissions, I think that one final fact helps put things in perspective — and that is the fact that members of al Qaeda are not merely common criminals. Some critics around the world have argued that they are “just” criminals, that their crimes somehow do not amount to war crimes. But here are the facts: al Qaeda seeks to employ weapons of mass slaughter as a means of achieving political goals against both the civilian and military capacity of the United States, Europe, and our allies throughout the world. Its members continue to fight our Armed Forces on battlefields around the world, and they will continue to do so until we stop them. Al Qaeda has committed acts on a scale that transcends mere crime, as recognized by NATO immediately after the attacks of September 11th. Their crimes are therefore nothing less than war crimes. Given the magnitude of the atrocities al Qaeda has committed, there can be no comparison between the crimes of its members and that of common civilian criminals.

Speech to U.S. Attorneys’ National Security Conference (January 11, 2007)

Online text of speech

  • Today’s gathering is particularly important because I must speak bluntly and urgently, about the single most important part of our jobs: preventing terrorist attacks on American soil. Our success or failure in this endeavor will define in the eyes of some President Bush and his legacy. Right or wrong, this is a task that will also define my government career and, indeed, to some degree my professional life. It will be the legacy of every one of us who is serving in this Administration. Terrorists chose to attack us. But it is we who must now choose — today, tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that, until the end of our government service — to do everything in our powers to stop them from striking again.
  • Because I worked at the White House on 9/11, I carry the memories and the pain of that day in a wound that is particularly deep — one that is very personal. Some of you were not in government on 9/11, and some are from parts of the country where people do not think much today about terrorism. I appreciate that some may not share the same sense of sadness and anger. But I must ask you to take on the perspective that President Bush and I had on September 11th and the days following — the brutal unprovoked murders of mothers and fathers — sons and daughters…the phone calls of desperate good byes…symbols of American wealth and power in flames and ruins. Five years have passed. I concede it may be difficult for some to stay committed to this mission — maintaining the necessary intensity and commitment — without that perspective.
  • Dig deeply for the energy and the creativity that we need to continue this successful record of prevention — which is the goal of all goals when it comes to terrorism because we simply cannot and will not wait for the next terrorist act to occur before taking action. Continue to arm yourselves with the American ideals of hope and freedom — because they are so much stronger than terrorist ideals of fear and intolerance. Remind yourselves and your colleagues back in your offices — that for the sake of our children, we will prevail because we must.

Speech to American Enterprise Institute (January 17, 2007)

Online text of speech

  • A strong and independent Judiciary is necessary for our republic to remain strong, for our democracy to survive, and for the rule of law to flourish. To understand what I mean by independence, let me first clarify what independence is not. Judicial independence does not mean complete freedom from scrutiny or criticism. Judges' decisions may be criticized, and the nature of the job virtually guarantees it. After all, in every court case there will be a loser. Judges must resist the temptation to craft their opinions to avoid criticism or to seek approval, whether from the press, the public, the academy, or Congress.
  • Of course, the power and authority of courts — whether to improperly take policymaking power for themselves or to engage in legitimate decision making — is dependent upon the weight of their judgment. That is, it depends on their credibility with the public and the other branches of government. Judicial decisions are obeyed, in large part, because the judgment of the federal Judiciary is respected. But it is perhaps underappreciated that when courts apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences, they actually reduce the credibility and authority of the Judiciary. In so doing, they undermine the rule of law that strengthens our democracy. In contrast, a judge who humbly understands the role of the courts in our tripartite system of government decides cases based on neutral principles. He generally defers to the judgment of the political branches, and respects precedent – the collective wisdom of those who have gone before. In so doing, that judge strengthens respect for the Judiciary, upholds the rule of law, and permits the people — through their elected representatives — to make choices about the issues of the day.
  • I also am concerned about judges who imagine they see everything in society addressed in the Constitution. It is worth remembering that the Constitution is a very brief document. It defines the structure and authority of the federal government and protects a limited list of sacred rights. It does not, and was never intended to, address every legal issue that might arise in our nation’s history. Democracy is well-served when the Court says, in effect, "the Constitution simply does not comment on this issue." In contrast, constitutionalizing an issue takes it out of the democratic process. If the people disagree with a court decision based on the law, they have a remedy in the political process. Through their elected representatives, they can change the law. But once a court declares a law to be unconstitutional or prohibits some agency action on constitutional grounds, it is limiting the options of the people. Such a step should be taken only where it is clear that the Constitution has truly spoken on the issue and forbidden what the political branches have determined to do.
  • We want to determine whether he understands the inherent limits that make an unelected Judiciary inferior to Congress or the President in making policy judgments. That, for example, a judge will never be in the best position to know what is in the national security interests of our country.
    • About selecting federal judicial candidates

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Alberto R. Gonzales
File:Alberto Gonzales - official DoJ


In office
February 3, 2005 – September 17, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by John Ashcroft
Succeeded by Michael Mukasey

Born August 4, 1955 (1955-08-04) (age 55)
San Antonio, Texas
Political party Republican
Alma mater Rice University, Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1973-1975

Alberto Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) is an American jurist who is the 80th Attorney General of the United States. Gonzales was appointed to the position in February 2005 by President George W. Bush. While Bush was Governor of Texas, Gonzales was part of his general counsel, and later was the Secretary of State of Texas and then was on the Texas Supreme Court. From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the Bush Administration as White House Counsel.[1] On August 27, 2007, Gonzales announced that he is quitting his position as Attorney General, and that his last day will be September 16, 2007. He did not say why he is leaving.[2] He is the highest-ranking Hispanic ever in the United States federal government.

References

  1. "Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General". The White House. 2006-04-05. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/government/print/gonzales-bio.html. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  2. Meyers, Steven Lee (August 27, 2007). "Embattled Attorney General Resigns". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/washington/27cnd-gonzales.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1188217220-bs39MOr+UJpRTDAYWymL9g. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 







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