In addition to a story on the Nixon Peabody song controversy — which we’ll do a full post on later, so save your comments until then — the New York Times has this big scoop:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. A senior administration official said he would announce the decision later this morning in Washington.
Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.
Any thoughts on a successor? Update: We liveblogged the (extremely short) press conference by Alberto Gonzales announcing his resignation. See here. Gonzales Resigns as Attorney General [New York Times]
A steam pipe exploded on Manhattan’s East Side, right in the middle of evening rush hour. One person is dead and more than twenty are injured. Eyewitnesses describe it as “the scariest thing I’ve seen since 9/11″ — a scene of mass hysteria, with “thousands running fearfully” through city streets.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving a briefing right now. In the real-time coverage of these events on the New York Times’s excellent City Room blog, there’s a shout-out to one of your favorite law firms:
6:55 p.m. | Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a large law firm with offices at 425 Lexington Avenue, at East 43rd Street, was one of many companies to evacuate their workers.
“It sounded at first like thunder, but it just didn’t end. It was a really loud, deep, sustained explosion,” said Andrew T. Frankel, a partner at the firm, who works on the 23rd floor. “We all looked out the window and saw black smoke just billowing up 43rd Street. It was pretty frightening, more for the unknown than anything. Nobody waited for the evacuation warning. Everybody headed for the stairwell and headed out of the building. People were tense, but calm.”
“We did floor sweeps and there’s nobody left in the building except the emergency response team in the lobby,” said an operator who answered calls to employees at the firm.
Here’s a development that has Colorado prosecutors saying “oh crap” — quite literally. From the Rocky Mountain News:
A former Democratic Party activist who left dog feces on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s Greeley office during last year’s 4th Congressional District campaign was found not guilty Wednesday of criminal use of a noxious substance.
So what happened? Did the prosecution fail to establish the element of noxiousness?
Ensz’s lawyers never denied that their client left a Musgrave campaign brochure full of feces at the front door of the congresswoman’s office. But they argued that Ensz was making a statement protected by free speech – the poop was a symbol of what she thought of Musgrave’s politics.
“Her only intention of going over there was to make a political statement that Marilyn Musgrave’s politics stink,” attorney Shannon D. Lyons said after the verdict.
It’s Good Friday — the Friday before a big holiday weekend. And we all know what that means: a high-profile resignation, timed in an attempt to avoid the news cycle.
Today we bid a fond farewell to the fabulous Monica M. Goodling. As de to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Monica Goodling helped coordinate the controversial firings of eight United States attorneys. When called upon to testify about the matter before Congress, she invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Oh, Monica — you will be missed. Long after you disappear from the newspaper headlines, you will live on in our hearts. We will always carryatorch for you.
Like so many great blonde icons — Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana Spencer, Anna Nicole Smith — you left us before your time. So it is fitting and proper that we quote from these lyrics, as we mark your passing from the halls of justice:
And it seems to me, you lived your life Like a candle in the wind Never knowing who to cling to When the rain set in And I would have liked to have known you But I was just a kid Your candle burned out long before Your legend ever did
For those of you who enjoyed poking fun at Harriet Miers during her ill-fated Supreme Court nomination, you won’t have her to kick around anymore.
(Yes, we know. When it comes to mockery of Harriet Miers, we have somewhat uncleanhands.)
We must step away from our computer now. As Howard Bashman might say, we are meeting a very cool and important law professor for lunch (but won’t name him or her). Hahaha.
We’ll resume our coverage of the Miers demise after we return. Miers Resigns As White House Counsel [Associated Press]
We’re reading Tony Mauro’s super-juicy article as fast as we can. Highlights and discussion will follow shortly.
Okay, we’re done. Here are some excerpts:
The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s Senate confirmation battles in 1971 and 1986 were more intense and political than previously known, according to a newly released FBI file that also offers dramatic new details about Rehnquist’s 1981 hospitalization and dependence on a painkiller….
In July 1986, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice, the Justice Department asked the FBI to interview witnesses who were preparing to testify that Rehnquist had intimidated minority voters as a Republican Party official in Arizona in the early 1960s. According to a memo in the Rehnquist file, an unnamed FBI official cautioned that the department “should be sensitive to the possibility that Democrats could charge the Republicans of misusing the FBI and intimidating the Democrats’ witnesses.” But then-Assistant Attorney General John Bolton — who more recently served as ambassador to the United Nations — signed off on the request and said he would “accept responsibility should concerns be raised about the role of the FBI.” It is unclear whether the FBI ever interviewed the witnesses.
John Bolton? That guy is everywhere! Did he have the walrus moustache back then?
More discussion — including tales of Rehnquist’s “bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts,” his paranoia that the CIA was out to get him, and his attempt to escape from a hospital while in pajamas — after the jump.
And at the peak of final exam studying, too! Our Greenwich Village correspondent reports:
I don’t know what it is, but it smells like the law library is in a dump. I gave up and left an hour ago. The whole basement of the library was EMPTY. But there were holdouts in the corners and the top floor in Vanderbilt.
We don’t know what the smell IS….
And from another NYU source:
People have been thanking me for confirming that they weren’t nuts. We’ve asked the librarians [about the mystery smell], but they have no answers.
That’s what CNN and the Associated Press are reporting. President Bush is holding a press conference at 1 p.m.
This is obviously big news. Is it law-related? Yes, insofar as the global “war on terror” has raised a whole host of thorny legal issues: treatment of terror detainees, appropriate interrogation methods under the Geneva Convention, etc. A new Secretary of Defense may approach these issues in a different way.
(Also, even though Secretary Rumsfeld is not a lawyer, back in 1982 he served as Presidential Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty. And as everyone knows, maritime law is the bomb.) GOP Says Rumsfeld Stepping Down [Associated Press] Donald H. Rumsfeld bio [U.S. Department of Defense]
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