Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales

Overview
Alberto R. Gonzales was the 80th Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. Gonzales was the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history and the highest-ranking Hispanic government official ever. He is the only lawyer in the nation’s history to serve as both White House Counsel and Attorney General of the United States. While Bush was Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

, Gonzales had served as his general counsel, and subsequently he served as Secretary of State of Texas
Secretary of State of Texas
The Secretary of State of Texas is one of six state officials designated by the Texas Constitution to form the executive department of that U.S. state...

 and then on the Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

.
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Quotations

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

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.

Encyclopedia
Alberto R. Gonzales was the 80th Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. Gonzales was the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history and the highest-ranking Hispanic government official ever. He is the only lawyer in the nation’s history to serve as both White House Counsel and Attorney General of the United States. While Bush was Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

, Gonzales had served as his general counsel, and subsequently he served as Secretary of State of Texas
Secretary of State of Texas
The Secretary of State of Texas is one of six state officials designated by the Texas Constitution to form the executive department of that U.S. state...

 and then on the Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

. HISPANIC magazine designated Gonzales as the Hispanic American of the Year in 2006. He was involved in several controversies and accused of perjury
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

 before Congress, although no charges were ever filed. Gonzales was exonerated of all accusations by three inspector general probes.

Personal background


Alberto Gonzales was born to a Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 family
in San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, and raised in Humble
Humble, Texas
Humble is a city in Harris County, Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area.As of the 2000 census, the city population was 14,579. The city shares a zip code with the small Houston neighborhood of Bordersville, although people who live in Bordersville still have Humble...

, a town outside of Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

. Of Mexican descent, he was the second of eight children born to Pablo and Maria Gonzales. His father, who died in 1982, was a migrant worker and then a construction worker with a second grade education. His mother worked at home raising eight children and had a sixth grade education. Gonzales and his family of ten lived in a small, two-bedroom home built by his father and uncles with no telephone and no hot running water. According to Gonzales, he is unaware whether immigration documentation exists for three of his grandparents who were born in Mexico and who, like Gonzales and his family, were poor and uneducated and thus they may have entered and resided in the United States illegally
Illegal immigration to the United States
An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

 from Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 or they may have entered and resided legally.

An honors student
Honors student
An honors student is a person recognized for achieving high grades or high marks in their course work.Honors students may refer to# Students recognized for their academic achievement on lists published periodically throughout the school year, known as honor rolls, varying from school to school, and...

 at MacArthur High School
Aldine Independent School District
Aldine Independent School District is a school district based in an unincorporated Harris County, Texas, United States. It serves portions of Houston and unincorporated Harris County. AISD is part of the taxation base for the Lone Star College System. Dr...

 in unincorporated Harris County
Harris County, Texas
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 4,092,459, White Americans made up 56.6% of Harris County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 33.0% of the population. Black Americans made up 18.9% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.7% of Harris County's population...

, Gonzales enlisted in the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 in 1973, for a four year term of enlistment. He served one year at a remote radar site with 100 other GIs at Fort Yukon
Fort Yukon, Alaska
As of the census of 2000, there were 595 people, 225 households, and 137 families residing in the city. The population density was 85.0 people per square mile . There were 317 housing units at an average density of 45.3 per square mile...

, Alaska located north of the Arctic Circle before being released from active duty to attend the USAFA Prep School. Subsequently he received an appointment to at the United States Air Force Academy
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States...

. Gonzales was on the Dean’s List every semester and served as President of the Freshman Class Council at the Academy. He was on the Superintendent’s List and Commandant’s List for two semesters. 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. He transferred to Rice University
Rice University
William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice, is a private research university located on a heavily wooded campus in Houston, Texas, United States...

 in Houston, where he was a resident of Lovett College, Gonzales had dreamed of attending Rice as a boy when he sold soft drinks at Rice University football games. He went on to be selected as the Charles Parkhill Scholar of Political Science and he earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 with honors in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 in 1979. He then earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 degree from Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The school is routinely ranked by the U.S...

 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
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 in private practice from 1982 until 1994 with the Houston law firm Vinson and Elkins
Vinson and Elkins
Vinson & Elkins LLP is an international law firm headquartered in the First City Tower in Downtown Houston, Texas. The firm has offices in 15 major energy, financial, and political centers worldwide, including Abu Dhabi, Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Moscow, New York...

, where he became a partner - the first Hispanic partner (along with one other new partner that year) in the firm’s history - and where he worked primarily with business clients. In 1994, he was named general counsel to then-Texas Governor
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, rising to become Secretary of State of Texas
Secretary of State of Texas
The Secretary of State of Texas is one of six state officials designated by the Texas Constitution to form the executive department of that U.S. state...

 in 1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

 in 1999, both appointments made by Governor Bush. Gonzales received the endorsement of every statewide official and every major Texas newspaper in his election bid to remain on the court in the Republican Primary in 2000, a race he won with over 57% of the vote. The citizens of Texas elected Gonzales to a full six-year term on the Supreme Court in the November 2000 general election with 81% of the vote.

Recognition


In addition to 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
Houston Independent School District
The Houston Independent School District is the largest public school system in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities...

, and as a member of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions for Rice University. He was a board trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation from 1996 to 1999; a board director for the State Bar of Texas from 1991 to 1994; a board director for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Houston from 1985 to 1991; a board director for Catholic Charities of Houston from 1989–1993, a board director for INROADS/Houston, Inc. in 1994; and a board director for the Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans from 1991 to 1992. Gonzales was Special Legal Counsel for the Houston Host Committee for the 1990 Summit of Industrialized Nations, and provided pro bono legal services to the Host Committee for the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. He served as Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Texas Real Estate Center (a committee to which he was appointed by Texas Governor Bill Clements), President of the Houston Hispanic Forum, President of the Houston Hispanic Bar Association and Chair of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Harris County. Gonzales has received numerous professional honors, including the President’s Award in 1989 from the Houston Bar Association, and the Hispanic Salute Award in 1989 from the Houston Metro Ford Dealers and Ford Division, Ford Motor Company for his work in the field of education. He was recognized as the Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston in 1992 by the Houston Young Lawyers Association and as the Outstanding Young lawyer of Texas in 1992 by the Texas Young Lawyers Association. Additionally, he received the Commitment to Leadership Award in 1993 from the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. He was recognized as one of the Five Outstanding Young Houstonians in 1994 by the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce, and as one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans in 1994 by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce, and in 1999 was elected to the prestigious American Law Institute based upon his contributions to the law. 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
State Bar of Texas
The State Bar of Texas is an agency of the judiciary under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Bar is responsible for assisting the Texas Supreme Court in overseeing all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas...

 in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent. In 1999, he was named Latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association
Hispanic National Bar Association
The Hispanic National Bar Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Hispanics in the legal profession, including attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistant and paralegals, and law students in the United States and its territories.The current National President and...

.

Based on his record of accomplishments Gonzales was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University in 2002 by the Association of Rice Alumni and was honored the same year by the Harvard Law School Association with its Harvard Law School Association Award. He received President’s Awards in 2003 from both the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens. He was recognized with the Outstanding Texas Leader Award in 2002 by the John B. Shepperd Public Leadership Forum. Additionally, in 2003, he received the Gary L. McPherson Distinguished Alumni Award from the American Council of Young Political Leaders; the Chairman’s Leadership Award from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, the Truinfador Award from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Hero Award from the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans and the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexican Chamber of Commerce for his dedication and leadership in promoting a civil society and equal opportunity. In 2003, Gonzales also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Travis County, Texas Republican Party. In 2004, Gonzales was honored with the Exemplary Leader Award by the Houston American Leadership Forum. In 2005, he was honored with the Hector Barreto, Sr. Award by the Latino Coalition and with a President’s Award by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

As the son of former migrant workers, many recognized Gonzales’ appointment as Attorney General of the United States as the embodiment of the American dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

. His work in the Hispanic community and his achievements as a role model earned him recognition as Hispanic American of the Year by HISPANIC Magazine in 2005 and one of The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America by TIME Magazine. Gonzales was inducted into the Class of 2005 in the Academy of Achievement. Gonzales received the Distinguished Leadership Award in 2006 from Leadership Houston. In 2007, as he left government service, he was honored with the Director’s Award from the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

While born in San Antonio, Gonzales is considered a native son of Houston. On May 20, 2006, Houston Mayor Bill White proclaimed “Alberto R. Gonzales Day” in Houston for his contributions to the betterment of the City of Houston. Academic institutions have also recognized Gonzales’ achievements and contributions. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2002 from The Catholic University of America; an Honorary Degree in Arts and Letters in 2003 from Miami-Dade Community College; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in 2005 from the University of District of Columbia; an Honorary Degree in Associate of Arts in 2005 from the Houston Community College System; and an Honorary Alumnus Award in 2007 from Southern Methodist University.

Counsel to Governor Bush


As counsel to Governor Bush, Gonzales helped advise Bush in connection with jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

 duty when he was called in a 1996 Travis County
Travis County, Texas
As of 2009, the U.S. census estimates there were 1,026,158 people, 320,766 households, and 183,798 families residing in the county. The population density was 821 people per square mile . There were 335,881 housing units at an average density of 340 per square mile...

 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
Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

 drunk driving conviction. Gonzales made no formal request for Bush to be excused from jury duty (to the contrary, Gonzales made it clear Bush was ready to serve as a juror), however, he did raise a possible conflict of interest because as the Governor, Bush might be called upon to pardon the accused in the case. The defense counsel has stated he had already thought of this conflict of interest problem for his client and had planned on his own to ask the judge to strike Bush from the jury. Nonetheless, Texas Monthly described Gonzales’ work here as “canny lawyering”.

As Governor Bush's counsel in Texas, Gonzales also reviewed all clemency requests. A 2003 article in The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic is an American magazine founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1857. It was created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine. It quickly achieved a national reputation, which it held for more than a century. It was important for recognizing and publishing new writers and poets,...

asserts that Gonzales gave insufficient counsel, and failed to second-guess convictions and failed appeals. The White House said the executive summaries prepared represented a small fraction of information provided to the Governor and sought only to document the governor’s final decisions rather than recommend a course of action. Pete Wassdorf, head of the General Counsel’s office for the Texas Attorney General, who served as Gonzales’ deputy at the time, also said additional information about some of the cases was provided to Bush in other documents. Under Section II, Article 4 of the Texas Constitution, the Governor cannot grant a pardon or commute a death sentence except with a majority vote recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, so Bush was constrained in granting clemency even if he had wanted to do so in a case. Only one death sentence was overturned by Governor Bush, and the state of Texas executed more prisoners during Gonzales's term than any other state. Gonzales’ deputy general counsel from 1995 to 1999, Pete Wassdorf, wrote that The Atlantic Monthly story written by Berlow paints an inaccurate and incomplete picture of the clemency process under Bush. Wassdorf, who served with General Gonzales’s office during the period of the clemency memo wrote:
“Berlow also fails to recognize that according to American jurisprudence, clemency is a discretionary act of grace bestowed by the governor under the state’s constitution. It is not part of the judicial process. If the governor chooses never to grant clemency; or to exercise that constitutional authority sparingly, and then only when legitimate questions about guilt or innocence persist or when legal issues are raised that have not been reviewed by the courts, or to grant it in every case, he may clearly do so. Governor Bush took a consistent, principled position on clemency, and Gonzales’ counsel served his client well by bringing all credible matters raised by the condemned to the Governor’s attention. The fact that the author disagrees with the governor’s standards does not make them wrong; nor does it make Gonzales’ summaries deficient. Finally, I want to state for the record that the general counsel’s office approved each of these cases with the greatest of care and sensitivity. I categorically disagree with any suggestions otherwise.”

Executive Order 13233


Executive Order 13233
Executive Order 13233
Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents. It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by George W. Bush on November 1, 2001...

, drafted by Gonzales, was issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001, although the White House had been working on on this order for some months. The order dealt with the release of presidential records, making it possible for current and former presidents to assert executive privilege over the release of privileged presidential records. The order gives to the President the power to delay the release of presidential records longer than the congressionally mandated period of 12 years after the president leaves office. Executive Order 13233 revoked President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's Executive Order 12667
Executive Order 12667
Executive Order 12667 established a procedure for former United States Presidents to limit access to certain records which would otherwise have been released by the National Archives and Records Administration under the Presidential Records Act of 1978...

 on the same subject and had the effect of delaying the release of Reagan's papers, which were due to be made public when Bush took office in 2001. While the policy was being drawn up, Gonzales as Counsel to the President issued a series of orders to the U.S. Archivist to delay the release of Reagan's records. This order was the subject of a number of lawsuits and Congressional attempts to overturn it. A D. C. district court in 2007 ordered the Archivist not to obey this order, finding it to be "arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act." In 2009 Executive Order 13233 was revoked by President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, who largely restored the wording Reagan's Executive Order 12667.

War on Terror


Gonzales is considered a key architect in establishing the legal foundations for the war on terror. His service as White House Counsel and as Attorney General in the fight on terrorism was recognized by the Director of the CIA in 2007 with a Directors Award, that includes a citation that reads: “During a period of tremendous tumult and change brought on by an unparalleled series of terrorist attacks and continuing threats against the American people, he [Gonzales] has provided unstinting support and wise counsel to many elements of the Community in their conduct of a critical and unprecedented range of operational activities that saved countless lives and protected the nation from further attacks. He performed his role with exemplary skill, dedication, and humor, all the while ensuring that the Community could carry out its vital mission in a manner faithful to the country’s laws and values. For his service, Judge Gonzales has earned the lasting gratitude and respect of U.S. intelligence officers everywhere, reflecting great credit upon himself and the Federal Service.

After consulting with lawyers from throughout the Administration, including the Department of Justice which is charged by law to provide legal advice to the Executive Branch, Gonzales helped draft a controversial memo in January 2002 that explored whether The Geneva Convention section III on the Treatment of Prisoners of War (GPW) applied to Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and held in detention facilities around the world, including Camp X-Ray
Camp X-Ray
Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp of Joint Task Force Guantanamo on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.The first twenty detainees arrived at Guantanamo on January 11, 2002....

 in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The memo made several arguments both for and against providing GPW protection to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The memo concluded that certain provisions of GPW were outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. In the memo, Gonzales described as "quaint" the provisions that require providing captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters "commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments," because "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war." (The British government later reached a similar conclusion when it said, “the Geneva Conventions are failing to provide necessary protection because they lack clarity and are out of date” ) The memo went on, "It (the war against terrorism) is not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war that formed the backdrop for GPW. The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians, and the need to try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing civilians."

Gonzales later explained, “The old ways may not work here. That’s what the memo was intended to convey to the President. I never meant to convey to the President that the basic values in the Geneva Convention were outdated." He noted that he was not the first to draw such conclusions from some of the more nitpicky requirements in the international treaties. He 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 expressed a concern that undefined language in Common Article III of GPW, such as "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment" could make officials and military leaders subject to the War Crimes Act of 1996
War Crimes Act of 1996
The War Crimes Act of 1996 was passed with overwhelming majorities by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton....

 if actions were deemed to constitute violations of the Act. Attorney General John Ashcroft made a similar argument on behalf of the Justice Department by letter to the President dated February 1, 2002, when he wrote that a presidential determination “against treaty application would provide the highest assurance that no court would subsequently entertain charges that American military officers, intelligence officials or law enforcement officials violated Geneva Convention rules relating to field conduct, detention conduct or interrogation of detainees. The War Crimes Act of 1996 makes violations of parts of the Geneva Convention a crime in the United States.”

Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream
Gulfstream Aerospace
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation is a producer of several models of jet aircraft. Gulfstream has been a unit of General Dynamics since 1999.The company has produced more than 1,500 aircraft for corporate, government, private, and military customers around the world...

 government jet carrying David Addington
David Addington
David Spears Addington , was legal counsel and chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and is now vice president of domestic and economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation....

, Gonzales, John A. Rizzo
John A. Rizzo
John A. Rizzo was a lawyer at the Central Intelligence Agency for 34 years. He was the acting General Counsel or Deputy Counsel of the CIA for the first nine years of the War on Terror, during which the CIA held dozens of detainees in black site prisons around the globe. "Enhanced interrogation...

, William Haynes II, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher
Alice S. Fisher
Alice S. Fisher was appointed by President George W. Bush in a recess appointment August 31, 2005, as Assistant Attorney General to head the Criminal Division in the United States Department of Justice....

 and Patrick F. Philbin
Patrick F. Philbin
Patrick F. Philbin is an American lawyer and Bush administration appointee.-Academics:Philbin wrote a note in the Harvard Law Review regarding the specialty requirement in the medieval action of covenant.-Career:...

, and the Office of Legal Counsel
Office of Legal Counsel
The Office of Legal Counsel is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General in his function as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.-History:...

's Jack Goldsmith
Jack Goldsmith
Jack Landman Goldsmith is a Harvard Law School professor who has written a number of texts regarding international law, cyber law, and national security law...

 flew to Camp Delta
Camp Delta
Camp Delta is a permanent detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay that replaced the temporary facilities of Camp X-Ray. Its first facilities were built between February 27 and mid-April 2002 by Navy Seabees, Marine Engineers, and workers from Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root...

 to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 to view Jose Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 to view Yaser Esam Hamdi
Yaser Esam Hamdi
Yaser Esam Hamdi is a now-former American citizen who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. It is claimed by the U.S. government that he was fighting against U.S. and Afghan Northern Alliance forces with the Taliban...

  and to examine related facilities to confirm they were consistent with legal requirements.

According to a New York Times report, despite an unclassified legal opinion issued in December 30, 2004 that declared torture "abhorrent," shortly after Gonzales became Attorney General in February 2005 the Justice Department issued another, classified opinion dated May 10, 2005, which for the first time provided CIA explicit authorization to apply to terror suspects a combination of uncomfortable physical and psychological tactics (under strict guidelines administered by trained personnel to ensure safety, and monitored carefully by medical personnel). The legal opinion covered 13 techniques; it was recommended by Deputy Attorney General James Comey for approval by Gonzales. That opinion echoed the earlier December 30, 2004 memo by declaring, “Torture is abhorrent both to American laws and values and to international norms. The unusual repudiation of torture is reflected not only in our criminal laws, see e.g. [8U.S.C. §§2340-2340A], but also in international agreements, in centuries of Anglo-American law, see e.g., John H. Langbeen, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancien Régime (1977) (“Torture and the Law of Proof”), and in the long standing policy of the United States, repeatedly and recently reaffirmed by the President. Consistent with these norms, the President has directed unequivocally that the United States is not to engage in torture.” The May 10th opinion approving the 13 techniques claimed that its reasoning and conclusions are based upon and fully consistent with the legal opinion issued on December 30, 2004, stating “Our analysis of this question is controlled by this office’s recently published opinion interpreting the anti-torture statute. ... Much of the analysis from our 2004 Legal Standards Opinion is reproduced below; all of it is incorporated by reference herein.” Gonzales reportedly approved the a second May 10, 2005 classified legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the policy objections of James B. Comey
James B. Comey
James B. Comey, Jr. was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in...

, 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.
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont and member of the Democratic Party. He is the first and only elected Democratic United States Senator in Vermont's history. He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the second most senior U.S. Senator,...

 and John Conyers
John Conyers
John Conyers, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1965 . He is a member of the Democratic Party...

, chairmen of the respective Senate and House Judiciary Committees, requested that the Justice Department turn over documents related to the classified 2005 legal opinions to their committees for review.
Gonzales also helped draft the Presidential Order which authorized the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects. The order was approved as to legality by lawyers at the Department of Justice. The order directs that the accused will receive a full and fair trial, and persons charged will be entitled to be represented by competent counsel. The order was written to duplicate the military order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and found to be constitutional for use against Nazi saboteurs by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Exparte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 30 (1942). The use of military commissions has been found to be so vital to our national security in the war on terror that their use have been approved and codified twice by Congress. (In 2009, The Obama administration stated it would abide by the Geneva Convention and described some of the enhanced interrogation techniques established under Attorney General Gonzalez' tenure as torture. On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order requiring the CIA to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manual on interrogations "unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance.")

Gonzales fought with Congress to keep Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

's Energy task force
Energy Task Force
The Energy Task Force, officially the National Energy Policy Development Group , was a task force created by then-U.S. President George W. Bush in 2001 during his second week in office. Vice President Dick Cheney was named chairman...

 documents from being reviewed, and his arguments were ultimately upheld by courts. On July 2, 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Vice President, but remanded the case back to the D.C. Circuit. On May 11, 2005, the D.C. Circuit threw out the lawsuit and ruled the Vice President was free to meet in private with energy industry representatives in 2001 while drawing up the President’s energy policy.

Gonzales was also an early advocate of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act
USA PATRIOT Act
The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2001. The PATRIOT Act was subsequently renewed by Congress and the President in March 2006 and again in February 2010. FBI Director Bob Mueller testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that many of the FBI’s operational counter-terrorism successes since September 11 are the direct result of the changes incorporated in the PATRIOT Act.

Attorney general



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
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

 for Bush's second term. Gonzales was regarded as a moderate compared to Ashcroft because he was not seen as opposing abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 or affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

. Although he has never stated publicly his support for abortion and later as Attorney General, was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Carhart
Gonzales v. Carhart
Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 , is a United States Supreme Court case that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The case reached the high court after U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appealed a ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in favor of...

, which reinforced the ban on late-term abortion that was previously overturned, and had stated publicly his opposition to racial quotas, some people assumed Gonzales did not oppose abortion or affirmative action. According to a Texas Monthly article, Gonzales has never said he was pro-choice and he has publicly opposed racial quotas.

The perceived departure from some conservative viewpoints elicited strong opposition to Gonzales that started during his Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 confirmation proceedings at the beginning of President Bush's second term. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

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.

Gonzales enjoyed broad bipartisan support in connection with his nomination, including the support of former Democratic HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar. One writer noted, “ A senator from Pennsylvania said, “I have always found him [Alberto Gonzales] to be completely forthright, brutally honest – in some cases telling me things I did not want to hear but always forthright, always honest, sincere, serious. This is a serious man who takes the responsibilities that have been given to him as a great privilege and a great honor which he holds very carefully and gently in his hands.” Said another senator, this one from Kentucky, “Judge Gonzales is proof that in America, there are no artificial barriers to success. A man or woman can climb to any height that his or her talents can take them. For Judge Gonzales, that is a very high altitude indeed. And luckily for his country, he is not quite finished climbing yet.”
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).
He was sworn in on February 3, 2005.

Speculation over a Supreme Court nomination


Shortly before the July 1, 2005 retirement of Associate Justice
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 of the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

, 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
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

, that Gonzales would be the first nominee for a vacancy on the Court
Bush Supreme Court candidates
Speculation abounded over potential nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States by President George W. Bush since before his presidency....

.

Quickly, conservative stalwarts such as National Review
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

magazine and Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family is an American evangelical Christian tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s...

, among other socially conservative groups, stated they would oppose a Gonzales nomination.

Much of their opposition to Gonzales was based on his perceived support of abortion rights as a result of one vote on a single case before the Supreme Court, In re Jane Doe 5 (43 Tex. Sup. J.910).

In a series of cases before the Texas Supreme Court in 2000, the court was asked to construe for the first time the 1999 Texas parental notification law forbidding a physician from performing an abortion on a pregnant, unaccompanied minor without giving notice to the minor’s parents at least 48 hours before the procedure. However Texas legislators adopted a policy to create a judicial bypass exception in those cases where (1) the minor is mature and sufficiently well informed to make the decision to have an abortion performed without notification to either of her parents; (2) notification will not be in the best interest of the minor or (3) notification may lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse of the minor. The court was asked in these cases to discern legislative intent for the first time to these subjective standards, presumably included in the law as a matter of Texas policy and to make the law constitutional under U.S. Supreme Court precedents. In the seven parental notification decisions rendered by the court, Gonzales voted to grant one bypass. 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
Nathan Hecht
Nathan L. Hecht is a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Hecht, a Republican, was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988 and reelected in 1994, 2000, and 2006. With over 18 years of service, Hecht is currently the most senior Justice of the Court. He was re-elected to a fourth six-year term...

 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
Judicial activism
Judicial activism describes judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. The definition of judicial activism, and which specific decisions are activist, is a controversial...

" 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
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a...

 Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

After the death of Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 William Rehnquist
William Rehnquist
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States...

 on September 3, 2005, creating another vacancy, speculation resumed that President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 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
Harriet Miers
Harriet Ellan Miers is an American lawyer and former White House Counsel. In 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to be an Associate Justice of the U.S...

 as Associate Justice, to replace Justice O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

. 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
Samuel Alito
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006....

 received the nomination and subsequent confirmation.

On September 11, 2005 U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

 was quoted as saying that it was "a little too soon" after Gonzales's appointment as Attorney General
Attorney General
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions.The term is used to refer to any person...

 for him to be appointed to another position, and that such an appointment would require a new series of confirmation hearings. “He [Gonzales] is attacked a lot,” observes Larry Sabato, a political analyst and the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, who adds that the serious political spats “virtually eliminated him from the Supreme Court chase.

Achievements and controversies


Gonzales has been recognized for his work in the fight against terrorism and his fight against sexual predators. His leadership on behalf of children has been widely noted; Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, described Attorney General Gonzales’ example in raising this issue to prominence as a “clear profile in courage”. President Bush in accepting Gonzales’ resignation as Attorney General said, “Al Gonzales has played a role in shaping our policies in the war on terror, and has worked tirelessly to make this country safer. The PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act and other important laws bear his imprint. Under his leadership, the Justice Department has made a priority of protecting children from internet predators, and made enforcement of civil rights law a top priority. He aggressively and successfully pursued public corruption and effectively combated gang violence. As Attorney General he played an important role in helping to confirm two fine jurists in Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. He did an outstanding job as White House Counsel, identifying and recommending the best nominees to fill critically important federal court vacancies.” Herbert Brownell, one of President Eisenhower’s’ Attorneys General said in 1989, “Any Attorney General who’s popular isn’t doing his job”. Hector Flores, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said this about Gonzales “He is an American leader who happens to be Hispanic. When you are breaking new ground, especially in the Attorney General’s office, representing all of the federal government, he is ruling on his knowledge of the law, whether you like or don’t like it.”

During Gonzales’ tenure, the Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 were accused of improperly, and perhaps illegally, using the USA PATRIOT Act
USA PATRIOT Act
The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

 to uncover personal information about U.S. citizens.
The actions taken were found by the Justice Department Inspector General to be unintentional and technical in nature. There was no finding of intent to violate the rights of citizens. Despite making himself available to answer questions at multiple hearings under oath, and turning over thousands of pages of documents, and despite no finding of any evidence of wrongdoing, critics still try to claim Gonzales should resign because of inability to explain his role and influence in the dismissal of U.S. attorneys
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy was initiated by the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice. Congressional investigations focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White...

 led several members of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 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.

Gonzales was extremely careful with his testimony. So, he may have appeared defensive. His caution was understandable because in connection with the April 19th Judiciary Committee hearing, “friends warned Gonzales that he was being set up for a perjury trap and that he should get his own lawyers. Gonzales demurred. He also failed to do his own investigations, fearing that if he conducted private interviews, he would be accused of tampering. (In fact, he was anyway.) Some accuse Gonzales of allowing politics to dominate his service. But years of investigations show the contrary. Although some subordinates at the Justice Department took actions that were inappropriately political, investigators found no evidence that Gonzales was aware or condoned such conduct. More importantly, there is no evidence that any Department of Justice prosecutorial decision was influenced by politics during Gonzales’ tenure as Attorney General. FBI director Bob Mueller testified that his investigations were not adversely affected in any way by the removal of U.S. Attorneys. Evidence of Gonzales’ fidelity to the law are abundant, including the recently released report by the Office of Special Counsel on Improper Political Activity during the Bush Administration. “The Counsels office in 2003-2004 [led by Gonzales] through the reelection cycle bent over backwards to get our advice and often when further than the law required to do what was right.”

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys


By law, U.S. Attorneys are appointed for a term of four years. By law, each U.S. Attorney serves at the pleasure of the President and is subject to removal by the President for any and no reason When Gonzales became Attorney General in 2005, he ordered a performance review of all U.S. Attorneys
On December 7, 2006, seven United States attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

s were notified by the United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 that they were being dismissed, after the George W. Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

 sought their resignation. One more, Bud Cummins
Bud Cummins
Harry Earnest "Bud" Cummins III is a former United States Attorney of five years in the Eastern District of Arkansas.-Career:...

, 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.
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.

However after years of investigation, as one commentator noted “the point here is that now, almost two years after George W. Bush left office, we are learning two things: (1) that many of the “crimes” he and his subordinates were accused of committing were simply normal administrative turnover (why should president accept a U.S. Attorney who made his own policy?), and (2) exactly the same thing is happening under new management. The DOJ IG found no criminal wrongdoing in the records. As the Wall Street Journal reported “the Justice Department informed Congress on Wednesday that a special investigator in the case found no evidence of wrongdoing….the investigator’s final word is that no Administration official gave ‘false statements’ to Congress or to the DOJ Inspector General, which carried out their own investigation.”

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
Kyle Sampson
D. Kyle Sampson was the Chief of Staff and Counselor of United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He resigned on March 12, 2007, amid the controversy surrounding the firing of eight United States Attorneys in 2006 and was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in July 2010...

, 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.

Such critics incorrectly cite to positive performance reviews of six of the eight asked to leave. DOJ officials Will Moschella and Monica Goodling both testified under oath that EARS evaluations are office-wide reviews, they are not reviews of the U.S. Attorneys themselves Gonzales testified under oath that EARS evaluations do not necessarily reflect on the U.S. Attorney. In other words, positive performance reviews cited by skeptics were not evaluations of the performance of the fired federal prosecutors.

The Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility commenced an investigation into the removal of nine U.S. Attorneys. Their report was issued in September 2008. The report cited serious issues of accountability removing a few of the U.S. Attorneys, but there was no finding that the nine U.S. Attorneys were removed for illegal or improper reasons. To the contrary, the report concluded that Margaret Chiara and Kevin Ryan were removed appropriately for management issues. Paul Charlton was removed for his action relating to a death penalty case and unilateral implementation of an interrogation policy. The report found Carol Lam was removed because of the Justice Department’s concerns about the low number of gun and immigration prosecutions in her district. The report concluded John McKay was asked to leave because of his disagreement with the Deputy Attorney General over an information-sharing program. The report could not cite to a reason Dan Bogden was asked to leave, but there was no finding that anything illegal or improper occurred with his removal. The report concluded Bud Cummins was asked to leave to make room for another political appointee that he himself conceded under oath was qualified to serve as a U.S. Attorney. These findings were consistent with testimony given by Gonzales. Politics was clearly involved. Likewise, the report concluded Todd Graves was removed to settle a political dispute in Missouri. Again, this was motivated by politics. Finally, the report found that it could not conclude that David Iglesias was removed for an improper reason. However since the IG had no authority to investigate Congress or the White House, the IG asked Attorney General Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Iglesias removal. This special prosecutor found no wrongdoing in the removal of David Iglesias.

Some critics also claim that Gonzales mislead Congress and gave false testimony about the U.S. Attorney firings. However, the report from the IG and the subsequent investigation by the Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy concluded otherwise, finding no evidence that Gonzales gave untrue or misleading statements to Congress. There was no perjury.

The IG report did find that some statements made by Gonzales at a March 13, 2007 press conference about his involvement were inaccurate. The report however does not conclude that Gonzales deliberately provided false information. He acknowledged from the outset his misstatements, accepted responsibility, and attempted to set the record straight well before congressional testimony on April 19, 2007. However, most people in a similar position would do the same after the fact when caught telling "mistruths." Gonzales testified 18 months before the IG reports that statements he made at the March 13, 2007 press conference were misstatements and were overboard. Further, in his written statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, presented April 19, 2007, Gonzales wrote: “I misspoke at a press conference on March 13th when I said that I “was not involved in any discussions about what was going on.” That statement was too broad. At that same press conference, I made clear that I was aware of the process; I said, “I knew my Chief of Staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers, where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that’s what I knew”. Of course, I knew about the process because of, at a minimum, these discussions with Mr. Sampson. Thus, my statement about “discussions” was imprecise and overboard, but it certainly was not in any way an attempt to mislead the American people.”

Three years of investigations by Congress, by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy found no criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales in connection with the U.S. Attorney firings, and no misstatements to Congress. One commentator noted, “The attack on Gonzales was in part due to his loyalty to his boss, and his effectiveness at advancing the Bush agenda. Blinded by their hatred for the man who signed off on the so called “torture memos”, liberals were looking for any way to drive a stake through his black heart. And they thought they had it with the nine U.S. Attorneys who didn’t like the fact that they got cut from payroll, turning them into martyrs under the bloodthirsty reign of Bush the Evil. Fortunately, that claim has now been shown for the lie it was. And when you lie about someone, distorting his life’s work, and calling him criminal – or worse – the least you could do is apologize. But I don’t think Alberto Gonzales should be holding his breath.”

On March 13th, well before the Justice Department and White House had provided thousands of pages of documents related to the firings, well before the testimony of DOJ and White House witnesses, well before the private interviews of DOJ and White House witnesses with Congressional staff, and well before the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded no wrongdoing by Gonzales, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, and others called for Gonzales’ resignation. They did not care about the evidence or truth; they wanted Gonzales gone. As one commentator noted, Gonzales’ critics aren’t after the truth. They’re after him.
Some commentators were in Gonzales’ corner, “As a political columnist, I cover liars for a living, and yet, I’d say Gonzales is pretty much as advertised by his old friend, President Bush: an honorable public servant. He comes across as a straight shooter.”

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. In contrast, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007: "I don't recall . . . Senator Domenici ever requesting that Mr. Iglesias be removed." In July 2010, Department of Justice prosecutors closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firings were not criminal, saying "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias. The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias."

The conclusion of the investigation caused one commentator to note, “a career Justice Department prosecutor not beholden to any administration shows us that the witch hunt against Albert Gonzales was a politically motivated sham.”

As the Wall Street Journal noted, when referring to Iglesias, “we’ll note that his successor in New Mexico, who was appointed by a panel of judges and not by President Bush, picked up the pace considerably in prosecuting and winning convictions in political corruption cases. The contrast bears out the criticism at the time that Iglesias has mismanaged his office.”

Gonzales acknowledged in his testimony in April 19, 2007 that he should have been more involved in the process. He acknowledged this well before the Inspector General reached this conclusion. He said in his congressional testimony that he should have been more precise in his press conference statements about the firings well before the Inspector General reached this conclusion. Gonzales clarified misstatements made at the March 13th press conference in subsequent interviews. Gonzales asked the Office of Professional Responsibility to examine the records and supported the involvement of the Inspector General. He directed full cooperation with all investigations by DOJ employees and agreed to release thousands of pages of internal DOJ documents. The Inspector General found no intentional or criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales.

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
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

 of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, with statements regarding the right of habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

 in the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. 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?


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.
Indeed, there is a respectable argument, based on the original understanding of the Suspension Clause, that the Constitution itself creates no habeas corpus right at all for persons of any type in federal custody and that all such rights are entirely a creature of Congress. Professor Ervin Chemerinsky said “[a]though the Constitution prohibits Congress from suspending the writ of habeas corpus except during times of rebellion or invasion, this provision was probably meant to keep Congress from suspending the writ and preventing state courts from releasing individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned. The constitutional provision does not create a right to habeas corpus; rather federal statues [do so].” Additionally, “the Constitutional Convention prevented Congress from obstructing the states courts’ ability to grant the writ, but did not try to create a federal constitutional right to habeas corpus”. “After all, if the suspension clause itself were an affirmative grant of procedural rights to those held in federal custody, there would have been little need for the first Congress to enact as it did, habeas corpus protections in the Judiciary Act of 1789. On the other hand, Chereminksy's argument has been denied by Justice Paul Stevens in a 2001 opinion in an immigration case involving the issue, where Stevens touches upon what he believes the 'far more sensible view':

"The dissent reads into Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion in Ex parte Bollman, 4 Cranch 75 (1807), support for a proposition that the Chief Justice did not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly. See post, at 14—15. He did note that “the first congress of the United States” acted under “the immediate influence” of the injunction provided by the Suspension Clause when it gave “life and activity” to “this great constitutional privilege” in the Judiciary Act of 1789, and that the writ could not be suspended until after the statute was enacted. 4 Cranch, at 95. That statement, however, surely does not imply that Marshall believed the Framers had drafted a Clause that would proscribe a temporary abrogation of the writ, while permitting its permanent suspension. Indeed, Marshall’s comment expresses the far more sensible view that the Clause was intended to preclude any possibility that “the privilege itself would be lost” by either the inaction or the action of Congress. See, e.g., ibid. (noting that the Founders “must have felt, with peculiar force, the obligation” imposed by the Suspension Clause)."

Justice Steven's assertion is backed up by sentiments found in the Federalist #84, which enshrines the right to petition for habeas corpus as fundamental:

"The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus, the prohibition of ex post facto laws, and of TITLES OF NOBILITY, to which we have no corresponding provision in our Constitution, are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it contains. The creation of crimes after the commission of the fact, or, in other words, the subjecting of men to punishment for things which, when they were done, were breaches of no law, and the practice of arbitrary imprisonments, have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny."

The Constitution presupposes that courts in the United States will have the authority to issue the writ as they historically did at common law. See, e.g., INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001); Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 666 (1996). The text of the Constitution provides that “[t]he privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” U.S. Const. art. 1, § 9m cl.2. As some commentators have noted, “the text does not explicitly confer a right to habeas relief, but merely sets forth when the Privilege of the Writ may be suspended”.
As Robert Parry writes in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel:

NSA domestic eavesdropping program



In a December 2005 article in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, it was revealed that the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 (NSA) was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without warrants in cases where (i) intelligence experts at the National Security Agency had reason to believe one party to the call was a member of al Qaeda or a group affiliated with al Qaeda, and (ii) the call was international. President Bush warned that if you are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know why. The New York Times acknowledges that the activities were classified, and that it had disclosed the activities over the Administration’s objections. After the publication of the article, Gonzales publicly threatened the Times with prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917
Espionage Act of 1917
The Espionage Act of 1917 is a United States federal law passed on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I. It has been amended numerous times over the years. It was originally found in Title 50 of the U.S. Code but is now found under Title 18, Crime...

., since knowing publication of classified information is a federal crime. Attorney General Gonzales raised the possibility that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information based on the outcome of the criminal investigation underway into leaks to the Times of data about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of terrorist-related calls between the United States and abroad. He said, “I understand very much the role that the press plays in our society, the protection under the First Amendment we want to protect and respect . . .” As for the Times, he said, “As we do in every case, it’s a case-by-case evaluation about what the evidence shows us, our interpretation of the law. We have an obligation to enforce the law and to prosecute those who engage in criminal activity.”

The publication led to an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) over the role of DOJ lawyers in giving legal advice to support various intelligence collection activities. OPR is responsible for investigating allegations of professional misconduct by DOJ attorneys. The objective of OPR is to ensure that DOJ attorneys perform their duties in accordance with the highest professional standards.

The Bush Administration and Attorney General Gonzales believed that OPR did not have the authority to investigate Gonzales’ role as White House Counsel in connection with certain intelligence activities authorized by the President. In response to suggestions that Gonzales blocked the investigation or that the President blocked the investigation to protect Gonzales, Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling informed Chairman John Conyers on March 22, 2007, that “the President made the decision not to grant the requested security clearances to” OPR staff. Judge Gonzales “was not told he was the subject or target of the OPR investigation, nor did he believe himself to be…” Judge Gonzales “did not ask the President to shut down or otherwise impede the OPR investigation”. Judge Gonzales “recommended to the President that OPR be granted security clearance.”

Gonzales disclosed to the Senate by letter dated August 1, 2007, that shortly after the September 11th attacks, the President authorized the NSA under a single Presidential Authorization to engage in a number of intelligence activities described as the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) by the DOJ IG. One of the authorized activities was the Terrorist Surveillance program described by the President to the nation on December 16, 2005. According to Gonzalez, the dispute between the President and James Comey that led to the hospital visit was not over TSP, it concerned other classified intelligence activities that are part of PSP and have not been disclosed. However, Comey stated that the disagreement had been over TSP, including the hospital visit. Gonzalez later used a spokesperson to deny his previous assertion, claiming he misspoke. The controversy over these conflicting statements led Senator Schumer requesting appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Gonzalez for perjury.

According to May 15, 2007, testimony by the former deputy attorney general, James B. Comey
James B. Comey
James B. Comey, Jr. was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in...

 to the Senate Judiciary Committee (as reported in the New York Times)
on the evening of March 10, 2004, Gonzales and Bush's then-chief-of-staff Andrew H. Card Jr. tried to bypass his authority [on order of the President of the United States] by visiting then-Attorney General John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

. The President’s Surveillance Program included the Terrorist Surveillance Program and the Other Intelligence Activities, which was the source of the dispute between the White House and the Department of Justice. Card and Gonzales went to visit Ashcroft at the direction of the President. The purpose of this visit was to reauthorize the PSP, which included the Other Intelligence Activities, which Comey (as acting AG) had refused to reauthorize but which his boss, General Ashcroft, had approved for over two years. (Ashcroft was extremely ill and disoriented, Comey said, and his wife had forbidden any visitors.) However, testimony from Gonzales, Goldsmith and others confirmed that Ashcroft was not disoriented. Ashcroft was at least competent enough to recite to Card and Gonzales the basis of the Departments’ legal arguments, and he complained about clearance decisions by the President relative to the PSP.


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." He added that some "top Justice Department officials were prepared to resign over it."

In a preview of his book "The Terror Presidency" to be published later in September 2007, Jack Goldsmith
Jack Goldsmith
Jack Landman Goldsmith is a Harvard Law School professor who has written a number of texts regarding international law, cyber law, and national security law...

, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel
Office of Legal Counsel
The Office of Legal Counsel is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General in his function as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.-History:...

 at the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

, 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
The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine is a Sunday magazine supplement included with the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It is host to feature articles longer than those typically in the newspaper and has attracted many notable contributors...

of his extended interview with Goldsmith, who was also in the hospital room that night:


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.”


The suggestion that Ashcroft was unable to think clearly is contradicted by sworn testimony. Comey testified that Ashcroft expressed himself in very strong terms” Goldsmith testified that Ashcroft spoke at length about the legal issue. “Attorney General Ashcroft… [gave] a couple of minute’s speech in which he said that he…. shared the Justice department’s concerns.” As further evidence of Ashcroft’s state of mind, FBI Director Bob Mueller testified, “Ashcroft complained to Judge Gonzales about White House compartmentalization rules preventing Ashcroft from getting the advice he needed. “Comey tells Mueller that Ashcroft reviewed for Card and Gonzales the legal concerns relating to the program.” There is ample testimony that while Ashcroft had just had surgery, he was competent to explain the legal issues and complain about the President’s decisions not to allow his Chief of Staff to be cleared into this important national security program. Gonzales testified that he and Card were concerned about Ashcroft’s competency. “Obviously there was concern about General Ashcroft’s condition. And we would not have sought nor did we intend to get any approval from General Ashcroft if in fact he wasn’t fully competent to make the decision.” In response to a question from Senator Hatch, Gonzales also testified, “Obviously were concerned about the condition of General Ashcroft. We obviously knew he had been ill and had surgery. And we never had any intent to ask anything of him if we did not feel that he was competent. When we got there, I will just say that Mr. Ashcroft did most of the talking. We were there maybe five minutes – five to six minutes. Mr. Ashcroft talked about the legal issues in a lucid form, as I’ve heard him talk about legal issues in the White House.

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
James B. Comey
James B. Comey, Jr. was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in...

 regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital room meeting with John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

. The IG concluded that there was nothing false or intentionally misleading in Gonzales’ account.

Gonzales wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee that he defined TSP as the program the President publicly confirmed, a program that targets communications where one party is outside the United States, and as to which the government had reason to believe at least one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization. Gonzales provided the same definition of TSP in several public appearances leading up to his February 6, 2006 testimony.

The Inspector General concluded that the dispute between the White House and the Department concerned the Other Intelligence Activities that were different from the communications interception activities that the President publicly acknowledged as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, but that had been implemented through the same Presidential Authorizations.

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." Gonzales responded "That's how we clarify it." The IG agreed with Gonzales.

The response to Gonzales's testimony by those Senators serving on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees was one of disbelief. Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

, who is a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said, “I believe your testimony is misleading at best,” which Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse is the junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

—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
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont and member of the Democratic Party. He is the first and only elected Democratic United States Senator in Vermont's history. He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the second most senior U.S. Senator,...

 said, “I just don’t trust you,” and urged Gonzales to carefully review his testimony. The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

, 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. The DOJ Inspector General agreed with Gonzales noting in his report that the “dispute-which resulted in the visit to Attorney General Ashcroft’s hospital room by Gonzales and Card and brought several senior DOJ and FBI officials to the brink of resignations – concerned certain of the Other Intelligence Activities that were different from the communication interception activities that the President later publicly acknowledged as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, but that had been implemented through the same Presidential Authorization. After the meeting, Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller
Jay Rockefeller
John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV is the senior United States Senator from West Virginia. He was first elected to the Senate in 1984, while in office as Governor of West Virginia, a position he held from 1977 to 1985...

 said Gonzales was being "untruthful." Rockefeller's sentiments were echoed by Jane Harman
Jane Harman
Jane Margaret Lakes Harman is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party....

, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, who accused Gonzales of "selectively declassifying information to defend his own conduct." Gonzales did not declassify any information. He received permission from the President to discuss in more detail the reason for the hospital visit. As the IG report confirms, the dispute involved Other Intelligence Activities, it was not about TSP.

On July 26, 2007, the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 obtained a four-page memorandum from the office of former Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte dated May 17, 2006, which appeared to contradict 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
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

, James B. Comey
James B. Comey
James B. Comey, Jr. was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in...

 and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.. However, there is no contradiction as the July 1, 2009 IG report confirms. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the President authorized a number of intelligence activities reported by the IG on the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP). One set of activities were TSP, but the dispute was about certain of the Other Intelligence Activities. The IG report is clear on p. 37 that the TSP “was not the subject of the hospital room confrontation or the threatened resignations.” P. 36 of the Inspector General report goes on to say that the White House had a major disagreement related to PSP. The dispute which resulted in the visit to Attorney General Ashcroft’s hospital room by Gonzales and Card and brought several senior DOJ and FBI officials to the brink of resignation-concerned certain of the Other Intelligence Activities that were different from the communications interception activities that the President later publicly acknowledged as the TSP, but that had been implemented through the same President Authorizations.

On that same day, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (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.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Sheila Jackson Lee
Sheila Jackson Lee is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1995. The district includes most of inner-city Houston. She is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life and education:...

 (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."

On Thursday, August 16, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee released the heavily-redacted notes of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III regarding the Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 and White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 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
James B. Comey
James B. Comey, Jr. was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in...

. 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.
On July 26, 2007 a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement
Paul Clement
Paul Drew Clement is a former United States Solicitor General and current Georgetown University legal professor. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W...

, Senators Charles Schumer
Charles Schumer
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a...

, Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein is the senior U.S. Senator from California. A member of the Democratic Party, she has served in the Senate since 1992. She also served as 38th Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988....

, Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

 and Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse is the junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 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. According to the July 10, 2009 DOJ Inspector General Unclassified Report on the President’s Surveillance Program, Gonzales did not intend to mislead Congress. There was no finding of perjury or other criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales

On Wednesday, June 27, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

, the White House, and Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 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
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont and member of the Democratic Party. He is the first and only elected Democratic United States Senator in Vermont's history. He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the second most senior U.S. Senator,...

 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.
In an August 17, 2007 reply letter to Leahy asking for an extension of the August 20 deadline
for compliance, White House counsel
White House Counsel
The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

 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
Executive privilege
In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government...

.
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
Contempt of Congress
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically the bribery of a senator or representative was considered contempt of Congress...

 citation when it returns from its August recess.

On July 27, 2007, both White House Press Secretary
White House Press Secretary
The White House Press Secretary is a senior White House official whose primary responsibility is to act as spokesperson for the government administration....

 Tony Snow
Tony Snow
Robert Anthony "Tony" Snow was an American journalist, political commentator, television news anchor, syndicated columnist, radio host, musician, and the third White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush. Snow also worked for President George H. W. Bush as chief speechwriter and...

 and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino
Dana Perino
Dana Maria Perino is an American political commentator for Fox News. She served as the White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush from September 14, 2007 to January 20, 2009...

 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. Lee Casey, a former Justice Department lawyer during the Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 administrations, told The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
PBS NewsHour is an evening television news program broadcast weeknights on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. The show is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, a company co-owned by former anchors Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, and Liberty Media, which owns a 65% stake in the...

 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."

On Tuesday, August 28, 2007—one day after Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General effective September 17—Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy
Patrick Leahy
Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont and member of the Democratic Party. He is the first and only elected Democratic United States Senator in Vermont's history. He is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the second most senior U.S. Senator,...

 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
Karl Rove
Karl Christian Rove was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until Rove's resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives...

, 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.” Gonzales testified voluntarily to Congress and provided interviews to the Inspector General on numerous occasions. He ordered full cooperation by all Department of Justice employees with ongoing investigations.

On Thursday, August 30, 2007, Justice Department Inspector General
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

 Glenn A. Fine
Glenn A. Fine
Glenn Alan Fine served as Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice from 2000 until January 2011. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 15, 2000...

 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 letter
National Security Letter
A National Security Letter is a form of administrative subpoena used by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and reportedly by other U.S. Government Agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. They require no probable cause or judicial oversight...

s,” which investigators use to obtain information on e-mail messages, telephone calls and other records from private companies without court approval. Fine concluded his investigation and found that Gonzales did not intend to mislead Congress.

It has been reported that a person involved in the incident of March 10, 2004 hospital room meeting with John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

 has said that much of the confusion and conflicting testimony that occurred about intelligence activities was because certain programs were so classified that they were impossible to speak about clearly. The DOJ Inspector General recognized that Gonzales was in the difficult position of testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a highly classified program in an open forum On July 31, 2007, Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell confirmed, in a letter to Senator Specter, that the activities publicly referred to “as the TSP did not exhaust the activities subject to periodic authorization by the President. Gonzales was then able to explain publicly, on August 1, 2007, that while TSP “was an extraordinary activity that presented novel and difficult issues and was, as [he understood], the subject of intense deliberations within the Department,” the aspect of Mr. Comey’s advise that prompted the Gang of Eight meeting on March 10, 2004, was not about TSP, but was about another or other aspects of the intelligence activities in question, which activities remain classified. Comey himself acknowledged that the nature of the disagreement at issue on March 10, 2004, is “a very complicated matter”, but he declined to discuss in a public setting. Professor Jack Goldsmith appears to acknowledge that there is a difference between TSP and other classified intelligence activities that prompted the March 10, 2004 Gang of Eight meeting and visit to General Ashcroft’s hospital room.

Texas Youth Commission


Alberto Gonzales, along with U.S. attorney Johnny Sutton
Johnny Sutton
Johnny Sutton is an attorney who served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas from 2001 until 2009, and chaired the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys. Sutton is known for the prosecution of United States Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and...

, 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
Texas Youth Commission
The Texas Youth Commission is a Texas state agency which operates juvenile corrections facilities in the state. The commission is headquartered in the Brown-Heatly Building in Austin...

 program. Texas Governor Rick Perry has directed an investigation because this is a local/state matter.

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. Gonzales has been called Bush's "yes man." Even though the advice given by Gonzales was based and supported by other lawyers, specifically the Department of Justice, charged by statute to provide legal advice to the President, Critics claim that he gave only the legal advice Bush wanted and questioned Gonzales's ethics and professional conduct.
“To his backers, Gonzales is a quiet, hardworking attorney general notable for his open management style and his commitment to the administration of justice and to the war on terrorism.

One publication reported, “Gonzales contends that his friendship with Bush makes him a better advocate for the rule of law within the executive branch.” My responsibilities is to ensure that the laws are enforced, that everyone in the country receives justice under the law—independent of my relationship with the White House, independent of my relationship with the President of the United States,” he told National Journal”

As a White House counsel, Gonzales signed a controversial memorandum in January 2002 to the president which argued that the limitations on the questioning of prisoners under the Geneva Conventions were "obsolete" when it deals with terrorism.

The memo also states this new paradigm of non-nation states who fight in violation of the laws of war places a premium on getting information and “this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, script (i.e. advances of monthly pay, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments).”

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. But the President gave Gonzales a strong vote of confidence saying, “This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence.” The President said that Gonzales’s testimony “increased my confidence” in his ability to lead the Justice Department. Separately, a White House spokeswoman said, “He’s staying”.

On May 24, 2007, Senators Charles Schumer
Charles Schumer
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a...

 (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein is the senior U.S. Senator from California. A member of the Democratic Party, she has served in the Senate since 1992. She also served as 38th Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988....

 (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse is the junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (D-RI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced the Democrats' proposed no-confidence resolution
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 to vote on whether "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American People."
(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
Adam Schiff
Adam Bennett Schiff is the U.S. Representative for . He has served in Congress since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (D-CA).

On June 11, 2007 a Senate vote on cloture
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

 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
John E. Sununu
John Edward Sununu is a former Republican United States Senator from New Hampshire, of Lebanese and Palestinian Christian ancestry. Sununu was the youngest member of the Senate for his entire six year term. He is the son of former New Hampshire Governor John H...

, Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel
Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel is a former United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002...

, Susan Collins
Susan Collins
Susan Margaret Collins is the junior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...

, Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

, Olympia Snowe
Olympia Snowe
Olympia Jean Snowe , née Bouchles, is the senior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. Snowe has become widely known for her ability to influence the outcome of close votes, including whether to end filibusters. She and her fellow Senator from Maine, Susan Collins,...

, Gordon Smith and Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

 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."

University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 law professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 Frank Bowman has observed that Congress has the power to impeach
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 Gonzales if he willfully lied or withheld information from Congress during his testimony about the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys.
There was no evidence to support the allegation that Gonzales willfully lied or withheld information. Thus, according to the standard established by Professor Bowman, Congress had no basis, authority, or power to vote on this resolution.

Congress has impeached a sitting Cabinet member before; William W. Belknap
William W. Belknap
William Worth Belknap was a United States Army general, government administrator, and United States Secretary of War. He was the only Cabinet secretary ever to have been impeached by the United States House of Representatives.-Birth and early years:Born in Newburgh, New York to career soldier...

, Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

's Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, 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
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 reported that Rep. Jay Inslee
Jay Inslee
Jay Robert Inslee is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1999. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes many of Seattle's northern suburbs in King, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties...

 announced that he would introduce a bill the following day that would require the House Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation against Gonzales.
There were many, however, who supported Gonzales. One commentator wrote, “Attorney General Alberto Gonzales shouldn’t go quietly. In fact, he shouldn’t go at all. The Latino Coalition issued a press statement in March 2007 announcing their continued and unwavering support of Alberto Gonzales saying, “we strongly oppose what is nothing but patently political calls for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales. He has been, and continues to be, a leading example to all in the Hispanic community of what we can accomplish through hard work and by keeping true to our dreams.” The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association wrote expressing support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, “Attorney General Gonzales is a man held in high regard by the men and women of Federal law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to keep our nation safe. He is a strong law enforcement leader who is willing to listen to those of us out on the street every day serving and protection our nation. Mr. President, I urge you to convince Attorney General Gonzales to remain in his current position as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer. Our nation and the men and women who carry the badge and the gun need his leadership.”

Resignation announcement



Gonzales submitted his resignation as Attorney General effective September 17, 2007, 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". 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
Michael B. Mukasey
Michael Bernard Mukasey is a lawyer and former judge who served as the 81st Attorney General of the United States. Mukasey, an American lawyer, was appointed following the resignation of Alberto Gonzales. Mukasey also served for 18 years as a judge of the United States District Court for the...

 to serve as Gonzales's successor. Bush also announced a revised appointment for acting Attorney General: Paul Clement
Paul Clement
Paul Drew Clement is a former United States Solicitor General and current Georgetown University legal professor. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He was nominated by President George W...

 served for 24 hours and returned to his position as Solicitor General; the departing Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, Peter Keisler
Peter Keisler
Peter D. Keisler is an American lawyer whose 2006 nomination by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit became embroiled in partisan controversy...

 was persuaded to stay on, and was appointed acting Attorney General effective September 18, 2007.

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
George J. Terwilliger III
George J. Terwilliger III is an American lawyer and politician. He is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of White & Case LLP and is a former United States Deputy Attorney General and acting United States Attorney General. Terwilliger, of Vermont, was nominated February 14, 1992, by...

, partner at White & Case
White & Case
White & Case was founded in New York in 1901 and has grown into one of the world's leading global law firms. The firm has since expanded, and has practice groups in emerging markets including Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in Europe...

, 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.
On October 19, 2007, John McKay
John McKay (attorney)
John Larkin McKay is a former United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington.John Larkin McKay, a member of a prominent Republican family in the state, attended the University of Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1978...

, the former U.S. Attorney for Washington's Western District
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction comprises the following counties of the state of Washington: Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan,...

, told The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review that Inspector General
United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice is the Office of the Inspector General specific to the United States Department of Justice that is responsible for conducting nearly all of the investigations of DOJ employees and programs. The present Inspector General is Glenn A...

 Glenn A. Fine
Glenn A. Fine
Glenn Alan Fine served as Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice from 2000 until January 2011. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 15, 2000...

 may recommend criminal charges against Gonzales. The Inspector General did not recommend criminal charges against Gonzales. To the contrary, the Inspector General found no criminal wrongdoing and no perjury.

On November 15, 2007, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

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. The Inspector General determined that Gonzales did not commit perjury or improperly tamper with a congressional witness.

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. The Inspector General investigation found no evidence showing that there was any unauthorized disclosure of classified information resulting from his mishandling and storage of the materials in question, and the IG did not make a referral to the National Security Division for violation of a criminal statute.

Some members of Congress criticized Gonzales for selectively declassifying some of this information for political purposes. The Justice Department declined to press criminal charges. because there was no evidence of intent and no referral by the IG of criminal wrongdoing.

Later career


Gonzales had a mediation and consulting practice in Austin, TX and taught at Texas Tech. He is sought often as a public speaker and often quoted in publications on issues ranging from education to immigration. In October 2011, Belmont University
Belmont University
Belmont University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. It is the largest Christian university in Tennessee and the second largest private university in the state, behind nearby Vanderbilt University.-Belmont Mansion:Belmont Mansion...

 College of Law announced that Gonzalez would fill the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law. Gonzalez also joined the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as Of Council.

On the eight-year anniversary of the 911 attacks, one paper quoted Gonzales, “I think the country is safe”, he said, “I think the level of communication and cooperation within the government and most other governments is much better”. But things will never be the same, Gonzales said.” He has commented frequently on matters of national importance. One citizen, Berta Perez Linton, commenting on Gonzales said, “I believe that Alberto Gonzales can be a role model because he is certainly an individual who has been able to overcome obstacles that most Hispanic students face and was able to achieve a great education” she said. That’s the reason I think he can help, educationally, he is tremendously successful”.

Ongoing investigations by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice is the Office of the Inspector General specific to the United States Department of Justice that is responsible for conducting nearly all of the investigations of DOJ employees and programs. The present Inspector General is Glenn A...

 are now concluded. There has been no criminal referral, no criminal prosecution; Gonzales has not even been the target or subject of a criminal investigation. There has been no finding of criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales. His income since he left office on September 17, 2007, has come from speaking engagements and mediation and consulting services. Because of his extraordinary experience in state and federal government, as well as his Horatio Alger-like story , Gonzales remains a popular speaker, particularly to business groups, and high school and college students. Just since leaving public office, he has given more than 55 speeches, including to over 30 colleges and high schools. Schools such as Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

, Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

, The University of Tennessee at Martin, and the University of Florida
University of Florida
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university located on a campus in Gainesville, Florida. The university traces its historical origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its present Gainesville campus since September 1906...

, who have each paid him about $30,000 plus expenses for appearances; business groups are being charged a little more.

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. 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.


Gonzales is often solicited for his views on issues important to the country such as the war on terrorism, immigration and voter fraud. Since leaving public office he has appeared on a number of television and radio news shows, including The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, to discuss the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice....

 to the U.S. Supreme Court, Larry King Live with Larry King to discuss the challenges of immigration, and Geraldo at Large, with Geraldo Rivera, to discuss terrorism related issues. He has given numerous radio interviews on shows such as NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin, covering such topics as Guantanamo Bay and Supreme Court nominations. Additionally, his opinion pieces have found their way into major news publications such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, covering issues ranging from immigration to sexual predators. 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.

Gonzales was featured in the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side
Taxi to the Dark Side
Taxi to the Dark Side is a 2007 documentary film directed by American filmmaker Alex Gibney, and produced by Eva Orner and Susannah Shipman, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature...

.

Texas Tech University


In 2009, Texas Tech University System
Texas Tech University System
The Texas Tech University System consists of three universities, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Angelo State University. Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University HSC together operate thirteen campuses, eleven of which are located in Texas. The...

 hired Gonzales. He acted as the diversity recruiter for both Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University, often referred to as Texas Tech or TTU, is a public research university in Lubbock, Texas, United States. Established on February 10, 1923, and originally known as Texas Technological College, it is the leading institution of the Texas Tech University System and has the...

 and Angelo State University
Angelo State University
Angelo State University is a public, coeducational, doctoral level degree-granting university located in San Angelo, Texas, United States. It was founded in 1928 as San Angelo College. It gained University status and awarded its first baccalaureate degrees in 1967 and graduate degrees in 1969, the...

. Additionally, at Texas Tech, he taught a political science "special topics" course dealing with contemporary issues in the executive branch., and a graduate level course to students pursuing a masters degree in public administration. He began the new job on August 1, 2009. After the announcement, more than 40 professors at Texas Tech signed a petition opposing the hiring. Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance said Gonzales has generated interest in the University by recruiting outside of Lubbock and through his reputation in the news. “I had a young man come up to me Monday in a restaurant and he said, “I’m in Judge Gonzales’ class, and it’s the best class I’ve ever taken. Thank you for providing him to the community.” Hance said.

Grand jury indictment


In November 2008 Gonzales was indicted by a grand jury in Willacy County in Texas. He was accused of stopping an investigation into abuses at the Willacy Detention Center
Willacy Detention Center
Willacy Detention Center is a detention center located at the edge of Raymondville City, Willacy County, Texas.The facility is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons, and is managed by the contractor Management & Training Corporation....

, a federal detention center. Vice president Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 and other elected officials were also indicted. A judge dismissed the indictments and chastised the Willacy County district attorney, Juan Angel Gonzales, who brought the case. The district attorney himself had been under indictment for more than a year and a half before the judge dismissed the indictment. The district attorney left office after losing in a Democratic primary in March 2008. All charges were dropped after further investigation.

International investigation


On November 14, 2006, invoking universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction or universality principle is a principle in public international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other...

, legal proceedings were started in Germany against Gonzales for his alleged involvement under the command responsibility
Command responsibility
Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

 of prisoner abuse by writing the controversial legal opinions.
On April 27, 2007, Germany’s Federal Prosecutor announced she would not proceed with an investigation. In November 2007, the plaintiffs appealed the decision. On April 21, 2009, the Stuttgart Regional Appeals Court dismissed the appeal.

On March 28, 2009, a Spanish court, headed by Baltasar Garzón
Baltasar Garzón
Baltasar Garzón Real is a Spanish jurist who served on Spain's central criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional. He was the examining magistrate of the Juzgado Central de Instrucción No...

, the judge who ordered the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

, 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
John Yoo
John Choon Yoo is an American attorney, law professor, and author. As a former official in the United States Department of Justice during the George W...

, Douglas Feith
Douglas Feith
Douglas J. Feith served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for United States President George W. Bush from July 2001 until August 2005. His official responsibilities included the formulation of defense planning guidance and forces policy, United States Department of Defense relations...

, William Haynes II, Jay Bybee
Jay Bybee
Jay Scott Bybee is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has published numerous articles in law journals and taught law school; his primary interests are in constitutional and administrative law....

, and David Addington
David Addington
David Spears Addington , was legal counsel and chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and is now vice president of domestic and economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation....

.
Judge Garzon faces charges from earlier this year for knowingly overstepping the bounds of his authority in a probe of Spanish Civil War atrocities covered by an amnesty. Garzon has other cases against him pending. Critics say he has a mixed record winning convictions, cuts procedural corners, and that he’s less interested in promoting justice than in promoting Baltazar Garzon In April 2010, on the advice of the Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, who believes that an American tribunal should judge the case (or dismiss it) before a Spanish Court ever thinks about becoming involved, prosecutors recommended that Judge Garzon should drop his investigation. As CNN reported, Mr. Conde-Pumpido told reporters that Judge Garzon’s plan threatened to turn the court “into a toy in the hands of people who are trying to do a political action”.

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
Law clerk
A law clerk or a judicial clerk is a person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Law clerks are not court clerks or courtroom deputies, who are administrative staff for the court. Most law clerks are recent law school graduates who...

 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
LexisNexis
LexisNexis Group is a company providing computer-assisted legal research services. In 2006 it had the world's largest electronic database for legal and public-records related information...

.

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.

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. 2000)

External links


  • Official biography from whitehouse.gov
  • Announcement of his nomination on CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

  • A second biography from ABC News
    ABC News
    ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

  • "Death in Texas" by Sister Helen Prejean
    Helen Prejean
    Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., is a Roman Catholic religious sister, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, who has become a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.-Death row ministry:...

     in The New York Review of Books
    The New York Review of Books
    The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

  • "A Poor Choice"Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

  • Letter to 9/11 Commission from FindLaw
  • The Geneva Convention is "obsolete" memo in PDF from Washington in Depth, AP
  • Bush Admin. policy memos re: torture, interrogations, and POW status from FindLaw
  • Kennedy urges Senate to deny Gonzales nomination over torture policies from Senator Edward M. Kennedy
    Ted Kennedy
    Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

    , February 1, 2005.