Battle Won Over Gonzales

Well, we've won the battle, but we haven't won the war just yet. KOS is where I first read that many a dem on the judiciary committee voted against confirming Gonzales, though the Republicans had enough votes to push him through for a full house vote. Of note, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) voted against Gonzales despite his past record. Feingold has always given deference to a President's cabinet nominees; he even voted for Ashcroft, even though he didn't necessarily like the guy. Here's what he had to say about Gonzales:

As all of my colleagues on this Committee know, I believe that Presidents are entitled to a great deal of deference in their cabinet nominations. I have voted in favor of a number of this President's nominees, including the current Attorney General, with whom I had serious disagreements on matters of policy and general ideology. My votes may not have always pleased my political supporters, or my party's leadership. But in carrying out my part in the constitutional scheme, as one who is asked to advise on and consent to a President's nominations, I am guided by my conscience, and by the history and practices of the United States Senate. Rejecting a cabinet nominee is a very rare event. The decision to do so must never be taken lightly.

Mr. Chairman, I have reached the conclusion, after a great deal of thought and careful consideration, that I cannot support Judge Gonzales's nomination.

As usual, the best news bits aren't in US papers, but found over at this article from the UK:

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called Gonzales on Tuesday to tell him that he would voting against him.

Bush said that he chose Gonzales ``because of his sound judgment and role in shaping the administrations policies in the war on terrorism,'' Leahy said. ``Based on the glimpses of secret policy formulations and legal rationales that have come to light, I believe his judgments not to have been sound.''

``His judgment is defective,'' added Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del.

Democrats complain that Gonzales was evasive with his answers to their questions about White House policies in the war on terror. They have used his nomination and that of secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice to criticize the Iraq war and the treatment of foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

``The continuing effort to pin the blame for the torture scandal on a few bad apples among our soldiers while ignoring or even rewarding Mr. Gonzales and others responsible for the policy has sent the wrong message to our nation and the world,'' said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. ``I cannot support a nominee who has done so much to harm America's basic interests and fundamental values.''

Republicans said Gonzales shouldn't be the scapegoat for what happened to foreign prisoners.

``Most of these allegations have nothing to do with Judge Gonzales and in any event have been thoroughly discussed,'' said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

Gonzales, who served as White House counsel during President Bush's first term, would replace John Ashcroft if confirmed. He would be the nation's first Hispanic attorney general.

Even if Gonzales is approved by the committee, Democrats say they will require several hours of debate on the Senate floor before allowing a confirmation vote.

``I think that a man who gave the legal advice to the president to allow this to take place is someone that deserves to be talked about on the Senate floor,'' Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday.

Gonzales has said he supported extending the expired federal assault weapons ban. He also told senators he wanted Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act this year, despite complaints that it is too intrusive.

I suppose we can only dream of actually keeping him out of the cabinet, but stranger things have happened.
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