Rules and Republicans

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Bush Administration, Obama Administration, U.S. Attorneys

OK, here’s the deal with U.S. Attorneys. Usually they are appointed to four-year terms by a new president. When their terms are up, and if they are not re-appointed, they are to remain in their positions only until a new U.S. Attorney is confirmed to replace them. Those are the rules.

Once again, we see that Republicans don’t think the rules apply to them. Loyal Bushie Mary Beth Buchanan, a U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh, says she will not leave her position.

Despite a new administration coming into power, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she plans to stick around.

“It doesn’t serve justice for all the U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations all at one time,” she said yesterday. […]

Asking for the old attorneys to submit resignations is a courtesy, as far as I can tell. If she doesn’t resign that doesn’t mean she can keep her job. If a new Attorney is appointed and confirmed by the Senate for her position, she’s out, whether she resigns or not.

Usually if a president is re-elected to serve a second term, he doesn’t bother about replacing his own appointees, although he could if he wanted to. When a new president is elected, he can choose to replace most or all of the attorneys by appointing new ones. The GOP ginned up a phony scandal when Bill Clinton replaced the old U.S. Attorneys in 1993, even though Reagan had done the same thing with Jimmy Carter’s appointees, and Bush II would do the same thing to Clinton’s appointees when he took office.

Rightie blogger Stephen Brainbridge claims to be a law professor at UCLA:

A lot of people got very worked up when George Bush fired some US Attorneys for political reasons. Now some of those same people are exercised over the refusal of a Bush-appointed US Attorney to resign so that Obama can replace her.

I don’t think you can have it both ways. Either the US Attorney job is a political one or not.

Some people are born stupid, and some people choose to be stupid. If Bainbridge got through law school I will be charitable and assume the latter. He refuses to acknowledge the reasons Bush’s firing of U.S. Attorneys was scandalous.

The tradition of having US Attorneys resign when a new president takes office emerged so that the new president could make political appointments of the key personnel that would be enforcing the new administration’s legal priorities. Firing US Attorneys for failing to advance those priorities differs neither in degree nor kind.

The “priority,” of course, was that the fired attorneys refused to “help” Republicans get elected by bringing bogus charges against Democratic candidates right before an election. Like I said, some people choose to be stupid.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  Dec 5, 2008 @11:00 pm

    Apparently Bainbridge really is at UCLA. It sounds to me that it’s going to be up to Obama to replace her, as she’s not willing to go quietly. Of course the right will make a stink about it. It’s going to be interesting to see how this little battle plays out.

    What I and everyone else wants to know, is where Obama is going to draw the line – with this and with thousands of other pushbacks from the right.

  2. Jon  •  Dec 6, 2008 @2:02 am

    Krugman said it best: The party of stupid.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 6, 2008 @6:39 am

    I think I know how this guy got his law degree.
    When I was a kid, there were matchbooks that advertized: ‘Draw Bambi and win an Art Scholarhip!’ Yeah, right….
    Well, I think he got his degree by drawing stick figure representations of Plessy v. Ferguson and Roe v. Wade.

    Stupid is, as stupid does…

  4. erinyes  •  Dec 6, 2008 @7:10 am

    I remember hearing how petulant little classroom brats were treated
    back when my mother was in school. They were given an extra high three legged chair and a tall conical hat. They were “special”, and the teacher would give them the recognition they deserved.
    Their children grew up to be politicans and CEOs who bully people, line their pockets, and skip out with hefty severance packages or retirements after they plunder what they were in charge of.
    They have elevated stupidity to an art form, constantly trying to out stupid each other as a badge of honor, and their loyal fans adore them for it………..

  5. Stella  •  Dec 6, 2008 @11:25 am

    What fun this could be. Were I the lady’s boss, I would summon her to my office for a chat on the date of an upcoming important event for her. Maybe she’s planning a wedding or a vacation.
    I’m sure the president will have a much more diplomatic response than I. He seems to have been born very smart.

  6. joanr16  •  Dec 6, 2008 @1:49 pm

    If memory serves, Bush and Gonzalez did try to use the “new broom sweeps clean” excuse for firing the targeted eight, which of course occurred in the middle of Bush’s term. That was their opening gambit in what devolved into a clusterbleep of obstruction, dishonesty and idiocy.

    For someone on the faculty at UCLA, Bainbridge sure doesn’t master his facts, which leads him to make laughably specious comparisons. That’s pretty sad for a law professor; I’m beginning to understand why I never hear anyone bragging about their law degree from UCLA. At least Bainbridge has a fabulous imagination– maybe he should get into the movie biz.

  7. joe  •  Dec 6, 2008 @3:57 pm

    “He refuses to acknowledge the reasons Bush’s firing of U.S. Attorneys was scandalous.”

    Um, there’s nothing “scandalous” because they are political appointees that can be removed whenever the president chooses. The hypocrisy here truly is astounding.

  8. maha  •  Dec 6, 2008 @4:10 pm

    joe — your ignorance is what is astounding. The issue is not and never was whether a president can fire a a U.S. attorney whenever. Of course they can. The issue is that the Bush Administration attempted to turn the justice department into an arm of the Republican Party devoted to helping Republicans win elections by bring phony charges against Democrats.

  9. joe  •  Dec 6, 2008 @5:08 pm

    Yeah, that’s your characterization based on nothing more than paranoia and wishful thinking to manufacture the weakest non-scandal ever.

  10. maha  •  Dec 6, 2008 @5:14 pm

    joe — it’s what happened. The evidence is overwhelming. Deal with it.



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