Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Too Toxic For Lawyers?

The atmosphere is so toxic for US Attorneys that the DOJ cannot fill its openings.

As you may recall, Florida's US Attorney for the Middle District - Paul Perez - resigned in March 2007. While it has not yet been connected to the growing US Attorney Scandal, I think it ultimately will be as I argued here.

But, according to the Orlando Sentinel article, there is only one applicant for the opening:

But after U.S. Attorney Paul Perez announced March 13 that he was stepping down for a lucrative private-sector job, only one person applied for the post. So earlier this month, the job was re-advertised with an application deadline of June 15.

The best quote comes from Michael Seigel, the former number two in the district. It is hilarious for its back-handed slap of the entire administration:
"Being U.S. attorney at the end of the Bush administration -- most people would not see that as being a plus on your resume."
The reasoning, of course, is that an appointment at this stage in any administration will only be 18 months because the new administration will replace all US Attorneys. But, I don't think that will be the case.

Until the current scandal, it was conventional wisdom to replace US Attorneys at the beginning a new President's term. The current scandal, however, will change this just as Clinton's impeachment has forever changed the way we view impeachment.

Regardless of the "high crimes" committed by the Bush Administration, impeachment is now seen as a partisan tool. Bush will never be impeached because Republicans have tainted it and the media just laps it up. Today, my feeling is that the reason this administration acts with such impunity is they know any action Democrats take will be considered partisan hackery. I believe changing the US Attorneys at the beginning of an administration will be tarred with that same brush going forward.

Is it too Machiavellian to believe that the Cheney/Rove machine got their appointments in and then made sure they wouldn't be replaced by creating a cover scandal? There was a day I would say not. Today, not so sure.