Department of Justice

Here’s our latest legal celebrity sighting, for our occasional Eyes of the Law feature:

I’ve seen Alberto Gonzales walking the streets near Metro Center three times in the last month. Today he was walking with a blonde woman who was keeping a comfortable distance and not saying much. She looked like someone I should recognize, but didn’t.

Hmm… Might it have been Monica Goodling?
Or maybe not:

Alberto Gonzales Rebecca Turner Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgI think the blonde woman may have been his wife? [Ed. note: Our source directed us to the photo at right.]

All three times have been right around the intersection of 13th and F Streets. Today he was walking west on F Street, and the last time I remember he was walking south on 13th Street. He was with someone then too, but it was a man, and so obviously not his wife. Can’t remember the time before that.

Any idea what he’s up to these days? BTW: he looks taller on TV, but then again I guess everyone does.

True; the celebrities we’ve met generally look smaller in real life. But there are some exceptions. E.g., Bill Clinton (who is taller in real life than you’d expect).
Have you seen a famous lawyer or judge out and about lately? If so, please email us. Thanks.
Update: We now think we know what Alberto Gonzales was doing in that part of town. See here.

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgAre you trying to remember whether any of your law school classmates or colleagues clerked for former judge Michael Mukasey (S.D.N.Y.), President Bush’s nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general?
Well, you’re in luck. Every single one of Judge Mukasey’s former law clerks signed a glowing letter of recommendation for the judge, in which they praise him as a jurist and mentor and urge his speedy confirmation as AG. Their letter was transmitted to the Senate last night.
You can check out the letter, including the list of signatories, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michael Mukasey’s Former Clerks: They Like Him, They Really Like Him”

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve done relatively little about the nomination of former judge Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. While the WSJ Law Blog was dredging up his third-grade book reports — okay, not quite, but some college newspaper articles that he may or may not have written — we didn’t have much. But now we’d like to atone for that, with a piece we just did for the New York Observer.
We speculate that Michael Mukasey might be in D.C. longer than he might expect, especially if his good friend Rudy Giuliani wins the presidency (and possibly even if fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton does). We discuss how he might have come to be picked as AG, despite not being a D.C. denizen like Ted Olson, Laurence Silberman, or George Terwilliger:

Mr. Mukasey was simply more of a known quantity to the White House than the typical Beltway outsider. The White House staff includes three former assistant U.S. attorneys from Manhattan, as well as other ex-New York lawyers who regularly practiced before Mukasey as a judge. Among the New Yorkers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Mukasey enjoyed great respect, and was viewed as ideologically acceptable too, especially on war on terror issues.

The rest of the piece, including a discussion of what might be called the Curse of the Southern District (from President Bush’s point of view), is available here.
Mr. Mukasey Goes to Washington [New York Observer]
An Old Friend Joins Giuliani in a Spotlight [New York Times]

John David R Atchison AUSA John David Atchison Above the Law blog.jpgDuring his tenure as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales made it a policy priority to “keep our children safe” from creeps on the internets.
As it turns out, at least one alleged creep worked for the DOJ:

A U.S. Justice Department official has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a minor.

John David R. Atchison, 53, an assistant U.S. attorney from the northern district of Florida, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon.

An undercover officer posed as a mother offering her child to Atchison for sex, according to police.

And it gets worse:

The detective, acting as the child’s mother, allegedly arranged a sexual encounter between Atchison and her 5-year-old daughter, police said….

The undercover detective expressed concern about physical injury to the 5-year-old girl as a result of the sexual activity. Detectives said Atchison responded, ” I am always gentle and loving; not to worry, no damage ever, no rough stuff ever. I only like it soft and nice.”

If convicted and sentenced to prison, Mr. Atchison can try that line out on his new friends behind bars. But whether they’ll give it to him “soft and nice” is open to question.
Federal Prosecutor Arrested In Child Sex Sting [ClickOnDetroit.com]

* GM workers take break from, um, not working. [New York Times]
* Jena 6 charges thrown out because not filed in juvenile court. [CNN]
* O.J. gets squeezed for alleged Vegas robbery. [AP via Athens Banner-Herald]
* Mukasey it is. [New York Times]

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgNo official announcement has been made (despite the claim of Wikipedia that “[o]n September 16, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Mukasey to serve as the 81st Attorney General of the United States”). But numerous news outlets are reporting that President Bush has selected Michael B. Mukasey — currently a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New Yorker, and former chief judge of the S.D.N.Y. — as his attorney general nominee, to replace Alberto Gonzales.
We’ll have more to say after an official announcement, which could come as early as tomorrow morning. In the meantime, read Judge Mukasey’s interesting, frequently cited Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, on the Jose Padilla case (which he handled in part).
If you have firsthand experience with Judge Mukasey — e.g., as a litigant who has appeared before him, or as one of his law clerks — please share your thoughts in the comments, or by email. Thanks.
Bush plans to pick Mukasey for A.G. [Politico.com]
Bush Settles on Mukasey to Replace Gonzales [Washington Post]
Bush Expected to Name Judge as Gonzales’s Successor [New York Times]
Judge Top Contender to Replace Gonzales: Aide [Reuters]
Bush Picks Mukasey as Attorney General [AP]
Sources: Retired judge may replace Gonzales [CNN]
Jose Padilla Makes Bad Law [Wall Street Journal]
Michael B. Mukasey [Wikipedia]

Are you a Department of Justice employee? If so, why are you at your desk? Shouldn’t you be at the festivities in honor of Alberto Gonzales’s last day?

DOJ employees are invited to attend the Farewell Ceremony for Alberto R. Gonzales, 80th Attorney General of the United States. The ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m., on Friday, September 14, 2007, in the Great Hall. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be aired on JusticeVision and Justice Television Network.

It won’t be as riveting as the Monica Goodling testimony. But then again, what is?
Update (5 PM): A tipster who was there writes: “Just came from the ‘Farewell Celabration.’ Condi, who led the standing ovations, and Chertoff were the only non-Justice ppl from the Administration. Neither spoke.”
Regina Schofield Regina B Schofield AAG Office of Justice Programs.jpgIn other DOJ departure news, Regina Schofield — the (non-attorney) Assistant Attorney General overseeing the Office of Justice Programs — recently announced her resignation, effective September 28.
More here from Wonkette, whose commenters described her as “kinda hot.” Our Justice Department sources concur, describing her as someone who “takes care of herself” and is always “perfectly coiffed.” She’s also reportedly on the quiet side, perhaps unusual for an AAG, which makes her seem “alternately shy or imperious.” (So she’s no Shanetta Cutlar, who’s 0 percent shy and 100 percent imperious.)
If you’re curious, Regina Schofield’s full resignation message appears after the jump.
Top DoJ Official Resigns V Quietly [Wonkette]
Today Is Gonzo’s Last Day At DOJ [WSJ Law Blog]
Gonzales Ready to Leave the Stage [Washington Post]
Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield Announces Departure [U.S. Department of Justice]
Remarks of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Announcing His Resignation [U.S. Department of Justice]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Crickets Chirping at the DOJ”

Ted Olson Lady Booth Above the Law.JPGBack on Tuesday, it was widely rumored that an attorney general nomination announcement was imminent — and that the nominee was going to be former Solicitor General Ted Olson (pictured at right, at his wedding last year).
But we had our doubts. We opined that Olson, confirmed as SG by a narrow 51-47 margin, might be a tough sell in a Democratic Senate.
That opinion looks increasingly solid. From today’s Washington Post:

The Senate majority leader said yesterday that Democrats would block former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson from becoming attorney general, kicking off a spirited nomination debate even before the White House has named a candidate.

“Ted Olson will not be confirmed,” Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. “I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general.”

So it seems that, with respect to Ted Olson, the Dems are throwing down the gauntlet. Why so hostile? Are they upset they didn’t get invited to Olson’s fabulous, star-studded wedding?
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Will Be the Next AG? Maybe Not Ted Olson”

George J Terwilliger III George Terwilliger Attorney General Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we opined that Judge Laurence H. Silberman would get the Attorney General nomination. Now we take that back.
After our post, a knowledgeable source informed us that Laurence Silberman isn’t interested in the job. A second source, who confirmed Judge Silberman’s lack of interest, added that he might be tougher to confirm that one might expect for a longtime federal judge. See here.
Then we came across this great analysis of the AG situation, by the ever-fabulous Jan Crawford Greenburg. She writes, over at her blog, Legalities:

The White House could announce as early as Wednesday its nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson has emerged as a leading candidate—despite initial concerns in the administration that he could face a tough confirmation hearing, according to sources close to the process.

Olson, a highly regarded Washington D.C. lawyer, has broad support inside the administration because of his deep experience in the Justice Department in two different presidential administrations. In addition to serving as solicitor general during President Bush’s first term, Olson headed the Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan Administration.

This is consistent with what just went up at the Drudge Report:

FLASH: Ted Olson becomes frontrunner for Attorney General, top sources tell DRUDGE REPORT; announcement could be imminent… Developing…

But we’re not so sure. Remember when Edith Brown Clement looked like the frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice O’Connor? This White House likes surprises.
More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Will Be the Next AG? We’re Betting On Terwilliger”

Laurence Silberman Judge Laurence H Silberman Laurence Hirsch Silberman Above the Law blog.jpgAs noted in the Washington Post, President Bush is expected to name Alberto Gonzales’s replacement as attorney general in the next few days, after returning from Australia tomorrow. The WaPo seems to be predicting Ted Olson:

[F]ormer solicitor general Theodore B. Olson has emerged as one of the leading contenders for the job, according to sources inside and outside the government who are familiar with White House deliberations.

Other candidates still in the running include former deputy attorney general George J. Terwilliger III and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence H. Silberman, according to the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

Even though we’re still rooting for our former boss, based on this short list, we’re predicting Judge Laurence Silberman (who previously served as Deputy Attorney General, the #2 job at the Justice Department).
More thoughts, including discussion of George Terwilliger and Larry Thompson, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Will Be the Next AG? We’re Saying Silberman”

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