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.
Despite a new administration coming into power, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she plans to stick around.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t serve justice for all the U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations all at one time,â€ she said yesterday. [â€¦]
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 donâ€™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 administrationâ€™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.