Sunday, November 14, 2004

Gonzales Must be Rejected

I ran this post at my other blog a couple of days ago. I'm re-running it here only because I want you to contact your Senators to tell them to reject President Bush's nomination of Alberto Gonzales to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General.

Introducing his nominee to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General, George Bush said of Alberto Gonzales "he has an unwavering principle of respect for the law."

Oh, really?

According to Newsweek, Gonzales convened the meetings that resulted in the Justice Department memo that held that laws prohibiting torture do not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants. In another memo he wrote, he described Geneva Convention limitations on interrogation methods that could be used on prisoners of war as "quaint."

While working for Bush in Texas, Gonzales prepared for Governor Bush memos describing the crimes, trials and appeals of condemned prisoners for the Governor to review while deciding whether to extend clemency. Notably absent from all of these memos were mention of quality of counsel, exculpatory evidence, or mitigating circumstances. As a Texas Supreme Court Justice, Gonzales displayed the kind of indifference to the appearance of conflict of interest that has characterized Dick Cheney, happily accepting campaign contributions from corporations that were litigants in matters before his court.

I understand that the President has the prerogative to select to his cabinet those people whom he believes will best and most effectively carry out his programs and goals. Each Senator, however, has taken an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. Gonzales' record serving under Bush so far offers strong evidence that as Attorney General he will threaten the individual freedoms guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution. The Senate questioning of Gonzales should require Gonzales to explain, if he can, how his previous actions have been consistent with the principals of lilberty and freedom that Americans have fought to establish and preserve for more than two centuries.

The American people like to believe that we as a nation are exceptional, and to some extent I believe we are. The exceptionalism manifests itself when our words and deeds reflect the noble dreams of our founding fathers. Gonzales' actions in the service of George W. Bush betray those dreams and exemplify the mantra of the Bush Administration, that the ends justify the means. For his craven service, Gonzales must not be rewarded by being placed in charge of the Justice Department. Americans and citizens of other countries who believe that America can still act as a strong and just nation driven by the noble hopes of our ancestors look to the Senate to reject this nomination, to reject the Bush doctrine that we must fearfully undermine our civil liberties and civilized impulses to protect ourselves from a nasty world.
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