The Washington Post reports that “Bush May Fight for New Attorney General.” By that, it means that Bush may nominate the person he wants for the position regardless of whether his selection appeals to liberal Democrats.
The Post identifies five individuals said to be under serious consideration — Ted Olson, Paul Clement, George Terwilliger, Michael Mukasey, and Laurence Silberman. I made my case for Olson and Clement here. Terwilliger is a former deputy attorney general. Mukasey is a former U.S. District Judge. Silberman, who first came to prominence in the Nixon administration, is a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It’s an excellent list.
The Democrats, of course, are calling on the White House to pick “a consensus candidate.” But since no consensus exists on the issues before the Justice Department — e.g. judicial nominees and fighting terrorism — it’s difficult to believe that there is any true consensus candidate. Nor, after the Democrats unfair treatment of Alberto Gonzales, should Bush be in a mood to conciliate. To the contrary, other things being equal, he should pick a nominee that will put the Democrats in the box, forcing them either to accept a nominee their base doesn’t like or to look bad to those outside their base for trying to obstruct a strong nominee.
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