Tuesday, January 11, 2005


When it was announced that Alberto Gonzales had been chosen to succeed John Ashcroft, the next sound you heard was Chuck Schumer predicting Gonzales's confirmation and declaring himself content with that outcome. That was disheartening -- but Newsday reports that

Sen. Charles Schumer is now uncertain whether he can vote to confirm Alberto Gonzales as attorney general because of what Schumer calls Gonzales' "lack of candor" at his confirmation hearing.

The primary reason Schumer gives isn't what you'd expect:

...Schumer said that Gonzales, currently the White House counsel, gave no indication he would play a conciliatory role on the controversial question of appointments to the federal bench.

Senate Democrats have blocked some of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees on the ground that they were unacceptably conservative. In New York, in contrast, Schumer said he and the White House - with Gonzales as the point man - have generally avoided confrontations over judgeships by consulting beforehand.

During last week's hearing, Schumer, a member of the Judiciary Committee, asked Gonzales whether he would agree to extend that model nationwide. Gonzales responded by disputing Schumer's contention that any of Bush's nominees had been unacceptable and agreed only to pass Schumer's concerns on to the president.

How odd -- do you mean federal judges actually are being approved at the level of the lower courts, at least in Schumer's bailiwick, despite the alleged insane obstructionism of Democrats? Gosh, I didn't know that.

I'd be delighted if Schumer issued a full-throttle denunciation of Gonzales because he's soft on terror (or because he was staggeringly inept in his vetting of Bernie Kerik), but I'll take this turnaround -- if that's what this is -- any way I can get it. Any resistance is good.

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