Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Name the U.S. Attorney Firing Scandal

A few months ago I suggested that there needs to be a scarier term for global warming, something along the lines of "death tax." Now it's time for a new contest: Name the developing scandal involving the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys. Last week I referred to them as the "Justice Department Eight," and the same day Paul Krugman called them "the Gonzales Eight," which is probably more effective as agit-prop. But still, neither term refers to the scandal itself. It would be a shame if this scandal went unnamed, the fate of the great scandal of the Clinton years. (I favored "The Lewinsky Affair" for its double meaning but it never caught on.)

Before I get to the contest, here's one thought on the merits. I noted in my Friday post on this subject that in principle the President, acting through the Attorney General, can fire a U.S. Attorney without providing a reason. In his piece yesterday on FindLaw, Carl Tobias makes a similar point. He writes that "numerous Republicans claim the events are politics as usual, pointing out that, after all, U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the president, but ignoring the long tradition of independence that has meant U.S. Attorneys are, in practice, generally not fired for political reasons." Tobias suggests that the limitations on the President's power to fire a U.S. Attorney are simply a matter of tradition, albeit one he would like to see respected. What Tobias overlooks--and what I overlooked in my earlier post--is that the Constitution, not just politics, constrains the President's ability to fire government officials. For example, if Gonzales had fired one of the Eight because the U.S. Attorney had converted to Islam, that would have violated one or more of the Religious Tests Clause, the First Amendment's Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses, and the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. (Justiciability might present a problem for separation-of-powers reasons but that doesn't go to legality.) Whether firing a U.S. Attorney for his failure to bring partisan-politically motivated cases, or failure to dismiss other cases based on partisan political pressure, is another forbidden ground set against the background presumption of employment at will, is not entirely clear. It's possible that the Justice Department Eight were not entitled to keep their jobs, but that firing them as part of a plot to use the government's prosecutorial power for partisan ends--if that is what happened--violates criminal laws and/or constitutes an impeachable offense. If, for example, the President told the Attorney General to fire all U.S. Attorneys who were not disproportionately prosecuting corruption cases against Democrats rather than Republicans, that would seem a fairly clear violation of the President's duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

But enough about the merits. Now for the naming contest. I confess that I've got nothing on this. Over at
Daily Kos they seem to be calling it "Prosecutor Purge," which is okay but I believe we can do better. Nothing with "gate" in the end quite does it anymore. Perhaps someone can come up with something using the word "Justice" from the Department of Justice, but I've been unable to do so. Now that I've confirmed that I would not have had a successful career on Madison Avenue, I turn the matter over to commenters. I'll pick a winner (and give proper credit) tomorrow.

21 comments:

egarber said...

A play on one of my favorite baseball movies:

Eight Men OUSTED.

(Eight Men Out)

egarber said...

As an aside, since we're talking about undue political influence and blurry lines, I'm finishing up the classic Stanley Karnow book, "Vietnam: A History".

It turns out that Abe Fortas was a daily sounding board for L. Johnson during the Vietnam war, even AFTER he was put on the Supreme Court.

Imagine if today Scalia had daily conversations about Iraq with President Bush -- with all the "war on terror" cases working through the courts.

[Of course, Abe had problems of his own later on].

Laurence said...

the Patriot Act Massacre?

the Sampson-Miers Conspiracy?

the Henry IV Purge?

...yea, this is a tough one.

Laurence said...

sorry - wrong Henry. I meant VI, not IV. Amazing how dyslexia can hit you when you least expect it.

Michael C. Dorf said...

i like "eight men ousted" except that 2 of the 8 are women.

How about: "Eight Prosecutors Out?"

egarber said...

Mike said: How about: "Eight Prosecutors Out?"

No problem, though my agent will soon be in touch to discuss our royalty split :)

The only potential problem is that the original "eight men out" were the deviant ones -- having conspired to throw the world series. Here the roles are reversed; we want the prosecutors to be the good guys / girls, I think. May not matter either way in the end.

Michael C. Dorf said...

I'm persuaded by the justice of substituting "ousted" for "out" and so far Eric is in first place.

Trevor Morrison said...

How about the GOP (for Gonzales's ousted prosecutors)?

Octopus Grigori said...

We need a dramatic CNN graphic and soundtrack behind whatever logo wins.

My suggestions:

Pink Slip Pickle [or Prosecutor Pink Slip Pickle]

The Wrath of Miers [or The Wrath of Harriet]

The War on Justice

D.O.J.-gate

heathu said...

Good suggestions all, but we've got to play up the scary angle. I'm thinking "The Gonzales Massacre." As a play on the Saturday Night Massacre, it's got appropriate Nixonian overtones of firing prosecutors for political reasons, plus, if you didn't know what we were talking about, you'd think it was some shootout between masked banditos in some seedy, lawless border town - not to compare D.C to such a place...
Too much?

tlim said...

I believe that the firing of the 8 US attorneys --- especially Carol Lam if she was fired because she prosecuted Republicans --- should be viewed as an act of government that suppresses free speech and, therefore, violates the First Amendment. Although the attorneys were employees at will and generally could be fired for any reason or no reason, they could not be fired to suppress their speech. I have not researched the case law on this, but I think that in NYC at least 2 fired NYC employees alleged this as a cause of action against Mayor Guiliani, and NYC ended up settling those cases for several hundred thousand dollars.

Sobek said...

"...and generally could be fired for any reason or no reason..."

I must admit, although this point seems pretty much universally conceded, the scandal remains. If Clinton's DOJ summarily fires every single US Attorney simply because they weren't Clinton appointees (thus making the firings clearly motivated by partisan politics), no one seems to mind. But if Bush fires eight for political reasons, that's a problem.

I know I'm missing something here. I haven't followed the facts of this story because it seems like so much manufactured outrage. So if anyone wants to explain to me why I should care, now's your chance.

egarber said...

Sobek said:

"If Clinton's DOJ summarily fires every single US Attorney simply because they weren't Clinton appointees (thus making the firings clearly motivated by partisan politics), no one seems to mind."

I'm not sure about that. Is there a precedent for that happening? It's one thing to throw out a cabinet, but do presidents dump whole slates of career professionals who are supposed to be at arms-length? I don't know -- just asking.

But even there, I think there's a difference between politics and "mission". In other words, I think what makes this different isn't that the WH wants say, stronger pursuit of the death penalty across the board; it looks like here people were punished because they wouldn't SELECTIVELY enforce given laws against political opponents. OR, because they wouldn't go light on political allies.

I guess you could call it discrimination, really.

Sobek said...

"I'm not sure about that. Is there a precedent for that happening?"

Not speaking from personal knowledge, because I was too young to pay attention to politics when Clinton was first elected, but every argument I've seen about this involves Republicans noting that all 93 U.S. attorneys were summarily terminated by Janet Reno as soon as Clinton got into office, and Democrats trying to distinguish the facts rather than dispute them.

"In other words, I think what makes this different isn't that the WH wants say, stronger pursuit of the death penalty across the board..."

From what little I've read, it looks like at least some attorneys were fired because of general policies like this. Carol Lam, for example, was terminated because she refused to prosecute immigration cases. But she was also in charge of the Duke Cunningham prosecution, so administration critics have assumed she was fired for refusing to go easy on a Republican. Not so, it appears from the e-mails, which discussed getting rid of her before the Cunningham bribery scandal even broke.

I'll re-emphasize that I haven't paid too close attention, so if I have my facts wrong, I'll stand corrected. But if Janet Reno fires 93 attorneys simply because they were appointed by Republicans, I don't understand the outrage when GWB fires 8.

One more point: I also understand that Alberto Gonzalez was less than forthcoming in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I'll support his right to say "piss off, we can fire whoever we want for any reason or no reason," if that's the Clintonian precedent, but not to lie to Congress (which is, unfortunately, another Clintonian precedent).

egarber said...

"But if Janet Reno fires 93 attorneys simply because they were appointed by Republicans, I don't understand the outrage when GWB fires 8."

I might agree, if not for the "selectivity" issue I mentioned above. So I think there are differences between the scenarios.

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片http://ssff01.3b8mm.com/

kutyhgvd said...

I am so happy to get some kal geons and the kal gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the kal online geons is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should kal online gold with the spare money and I gain some kalonline Geons from other players.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店上班,暑假打工,酒店公關,酒店兼職,酒店經紀

wsty said...

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.
[url=http://www.pumafr.com]puma shoes[/url]
[url=http://www.eshooes.com]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=http://www.myshoess.com]nike air max ltd[/url]

wsty said...

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.
[url=http://www.pumafr.com]puma shoes[/url]
[url=http://www.eshooes.com]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=http://www.myshoess.com]nike air max ltd[/url]

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,