Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be slightly more secure in his position these days than in the recent past, when it was looking like “Gonzales” was Spanish for “canned.” But he’s not out of the woods yet — which is why speculation about possible successors continues.
Ben Wittes, writing for TNR Online, has some excellent insights. His overall take:
[B]etween a sinking administration that still demands loyalty above all else and congressional Democrats keen on using their new oversight powers, finding a candidate who satisfies both sides will be hard. The next attorney general must be someone acceptable enough to Democrats not just to get confirmed but to tamp down the fire Gonzales has witlessly set.
But he must also be enough of a conservative to satisfy the White House. And he needs a reputation for probity and moral seriousness sufficient to speak to the public and to Congress with the respect that Gonzales obviously lacks. It’s a tall order–a pinch so tight that it squeezes out almost all of the names being bandied about in public.
Wittes then marches through various possible nominees. Discussion continues, after the jump.
The House Democrats just won’t leave Monica Goodling alone. Even after the Justice Department lawyer invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege, the Dems still want to have a little “conversation” with her. From the NYT:
House Democrats on Tuesday requested a private interview with an aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales who has asserted her constitutional right not to testify at a public hearing about the dismissals of United States attorneys.
Representative John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sought the interview in a letter to a lawyer for the aide, Monica Goodling, who is on leave as the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House…. Mr. Conyers’s letter said that House lawyers wanted to question Ms. Goodling to evaluate the legality of her refusal to testify. It said she could not assert the privilege as a blanket justification not to appear.
Look, guys, she’s just not that into you. Can’t you just leave her alone? Go beat up on Kyle Sampson some more — we think he still has some lunch money left in his pockets.
(Our suspicion: Chairman Conyers wants to offer Goodling a babysitting job. ‘Cause John Conyers loves making lawyers babysit his children. He thinks the kids absorb legal knowledge by osmosis. And he’s heard about Goodling’s legendary brownies!)
Meanwhile, over at the WSJ Law Blog, Peter Lattman gets in a cheap double entendre at Monica’s expense:
Thanks to the commenter who drew this to our attention. Click on the image below for a larger, clearer version of Monica Goodling’s former Regent University webpage:
Yesterday we declared our intention “to stake out our position as the leading pro-Monica outlet… by vigorously praising and defending Monica Goodling in all of her fabulosity.” We described Goodling as a “fascinating and appealing personality” — and this ancient homepage only increases her allure.
Why do we say this? Find out, after the jump.
This past weekend’s NYT Week in Review had an interesting article on how they don’t make U.S. attorneys like they used to. Here’s the lede, which discusses the email habits of some of the fired United States Attorneys:
The e-mail is pleading, imploring and often so very careful. In messages sent to their bosses at the Justice Department, federal prosecutors react to their firing.
One federal prosecutor, Margaret M. Chiara of Michigan, notes that her office’s firearms prosecutions are up, and that her firing “makes me so sad.” Another prosecutor, David Iglesias of New Mexico, asks a senior Justice Department official for a telephone conversation to set a day of departure, promising that “my call will be pleasant and respectful.”
Another fired prosecutor, Paul Charlton of Arizona, sends an urgent e-mail message to the Justice Department, asking that its spokespeople help explain to the news media why he was being fired, instead of his speaking to reporters himself.
The dismissed prosecutors sound like jilted lovers, trying to salvage whatever dignity they can after the abrupt termination of a long-term relationship.
Two quibbles with the article. First, one of the sources quoted, Professor Bruce Green, is identified as “a former assistant federal prosecutor.” He should have been identified as a “former federal prosecutor,” since that’s what he was (or a “former assistant U.S. attorney,” if one wanted to be more technical about it).
(The taxonomy of titles relating to U.S. attorneys and AUSAs is so frequently messed up. For example, former line attorneys get called “former U.S. attorneys” with regularity. It’s a pet peeve of ours.)
Second, Carol Lam, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (S.D. Cal.), is credited with the Jerry Lewis investigation. We’ve been through this already, people: you’re thinking of Debra Wong Yang. See here and here.
Please get your Asian female prosecutors straight. Thank you. Gone Is the Swaggering Prince of Prosecution [New York Times] Carol Lam: Not Targeted Over the Jerry Lewis Investigation [Patterico's Pontifications] Earlier: All Asian Female Prosecutors Look Alike — to Chuck Schumer
But so is the mainstream media. The articles about this high-ranking Justice Department official, at the heart of the controversial U.S. Attorney firings, just keep on coming.
We can’t get enough of the coverage. We are completely intrigued — and quite taken by — Monica M. Goodling. She’s the most fascinating and appealing personality we’ve encountered since Alexandra Korry and Shanetta Cutlar (whom we also adore — what can we say, we love strong women).
In the face of widespread media and blogosphere criticism of Monica Goodling, we intend to stake out our position as the leading pro-Monica outlet. It’s all too easy to rank on her non-Ivy League background or her strong conservative beliefs. We will provide a counterbalance to the negativity, by vigorously praising and defending Monica Goodling in all of her fabulosity.
The latest Monica Goodling profiles are by Jonathan Last, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and by T.R. Goldman and Emma Schwartz, for the Legal Times. Here are some excerpts from Jonathan Last’s article:
Now 33, [Monica Goodling] graduated from Messiah College, an evangelical Christian school, in 1995. After a year at the American University Washington College of Law, she enrolled at Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School in 1996 – the year it received full accreditation from the American Bar Association. She graduated from Regent in 1999. That November, Goodling went to work for the Republican National Committee as a junior research analyst in the opposition research shop. When her boss, Barbara Comstock, left the RNC to head the Office of Public Affairs in the Ashcroft Justice Department, Goodling went with her.
After spending two years in Public Affairs, Goodling was detailed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia for a two-year stint in order to get the “field experience” typically required for the attorney general counsel’s job. She served only six months. (The head of EDVA at the time was Paul McNulty, who, having since become a deputy attorney general, also played a role in the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys.)
According to my research, Goodling was the lead attorney on three felony cases while at EDVA. All three ended in plea agreements; none was of particular importance. To give a sense of the magnitude of her work, the highest-level defendant was sentenced to four months in jail; the other two were given three years of supervised release – one of these also received a $100 special assessment. Nevertheless, upon her return to Justice, Goodling assumed the senior counsel and White House liaison posts. So much for the best and the brightest.
OUCH. Mr. Last, that’s no way to treat a lady!
More discussion, after the jump.
We were planning to do a quick write-up on the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of Kyle Sampson. But manysuchwrite-ups have already been done. And the Sampson testimony, while it had its moments, wasn’t quite as exciting as we were hoping.
So forget about the decidedly unglamorous Kyle Sampson, accurately described by Emily Bazelon as “sweaty, nervous, and soft-spoken.” Let’s talk about a more exciting and dynamic personality, the real breakout star of U.S. Attorney-gate to date:
Today brings two new, juicy profiles of Monica M. Goodling — one from the Washington Post, and one from the Harrisburg Patriot-News. They contain a lot of interesting material.
Discussion and links, after the jump.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just announced that the Republicans have objected, under Senate rules, to the Kyle Sampson hearings continuing any further.
The committee, which returned from lunch at around 1:45, now stands in recess. We’ll keep you posted. Update (2:42 PM): And we’re back. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is questioning Kyle Sampson.
(We were a little distracted by a technical glitch with the site that somecommenters pointed out. But we think it has been fixed now, so we’re back to blogging on the hearings.)
Since our last post, there have been some exciting developments. Sen. Pat Leahy’s questioning was pretty boring; he walked Sampson through a bunch of emails, deposition-style.
But things got more interesting when Sen. Arlen Specter took over. Playing his role as Senate moderate, he asked some questions that could be viewed as friendly, and some as hostile. Senator Specter got Sampson to admit that some of Alberto Gonzales’s prior testimony was not consistent with Sampson’s recollection.
Things got even hotter during Sen. Chuck Schumer’s questioning. In a “yes or no,” Perry Mason-esque line of cross-examination, Senator Schumer got Sampson to admit — under oath, and with apparent reluctance — that several of AG Gonzales’s prior statements were “not accurate,” or at least not consistent with Sampson’s recollection. Ruh-roh…
You could tell that Senator Schumer was scoring points because Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a smart and savvy former prosecutor and judge, piped up in the middle of Schumer’s questioning. Senator Cornyn angrily protested that Sen. Schumer was being unfair in not allowing Kyle Sampson, a witness testifying under oath, to answer questions fully. Exciting stuff! Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is trying too hard. It seems like he is looking for something to be upset about. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sounds like Alec Baldwin with a lisp. He is vaguely ridiculous.
Okay, it’s lunchtime. In recess until 1:45 PM. Earlier: Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den
We’re liveblogging the Kyle Sampson testimony. Our commentary will be added continuously to this post, so just refresh your browser for the latest.
We have high expectations — and we’re not alone. From the NYT:
“I think it will be the most interesting testimony we have heard since Professor Hill,” Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said as he recalled Anita F. Hill’s appearance in the confirmation hearing for Clarence Thomas for a Supreme Court seat. “I can’t think of anyone else who has quite the drama.”
(Of course, some are trying to dial down expectations. Sen. Chuck Schumer is warning us that the Sampson testimony probably won’t produce the proverbial “smoking gun.”)
Our commentary on the hearing, plus links to various news accounts, will appear after the jump.
In our post from yesterday about Monica Goodling, we asked for insights and tidbits about this high-profile Justice Department lawyer. The post generated an avalanche of comments.
We also received a few emails (although not as many as we might have liked). Here’s one:
I went to high school near Messiah College, and I knew several people named Goodling who went to high school with me. According to U.S. Search, there’s a woman named Monica Marie Goodling who lived in York Haven, PA. The previous congressman from the district including York Haven was Bill Goodling, so she may be distantly related or a granddaughter.
Does anyone know if there’s any relation? We wouldn’t be surprised. It does seem that Monica M. Goodling is well-connected in Republican circles. According to one commenter, she previously worked as a lawyer at the Republican National Committee (RNC). Another claims that she owes her “considerable political mojo” to Karl Rove. Update: A trusted source tells us that Goodling’s “mojo” comes “not from Karl Rove, but from Barbara Comstock, for whom she worked at the RNC. When Comstock moved to DoJ as head of the Office of Public Affairs, she brought MG with her as her assistant.”
Many of your comments about Monica Goodling were rather harsh. Here’s an email we received that we pass along to add some balance:
I feel compelled to write in, because of the number of people questioning [Monica Goodling's] intelligence and integrity (though I guess that’s to be expected in a public forum)….
Whenever I spend time with her, I am struck by her intelligence, her competence, her dedication to her country, her integrity, and her commitment to her values.
Anyone who knows her at all would not question whether she acted with integrity in this instance. For the people who question how she got her job, she got her job because she works extremely hard and is very good at what she does. I didn’t even know she went to Regent. She is just as smart as most Harvard and Yale grads I know.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.