Monday, June 11, 2007

A No Confidence Monday

It's hard to imagine how anyone can still have any confidence in this Attorney General's ability to do his job. His credibility is in tatters, his memory is apparently shot too, and at least six Republican senators have publicly called for his resignation.

There's plenty of reasons for Gonzales' resignation -- even impeachment. We could start with his egregiously partisan behavior in the US Attorneys scandal, and continue to his lies under oath regarding the matter. Or we could go with his blatant politicization of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, or his FBI's widespread abuse of PATRIOT act powers to spy on ordinary Americans.

Chuck Schumer said it best: "If all senators who have actually lost confidence in Attorney General Gonzales voted their conscience, this vote would be unanimous. However, the President will certainly exert pressure to support the Attorney General, his longtime friend. We will soon see where people's loyalties lie."

It will be especially telling to see how those six Republican Senators who have already called for Gonzales to resign -- including Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Gordon Smith of Oregon and John McCain of Arizona -- cast their votes.

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has promised to lard up the resolution with meaningless amendments and slow it down procedurally.

I wonder how Kay Bailey and Box Turtle Cornyn will vote?

Update (6/11, 2:30 p.m.): Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary committee and someone who has previously stopped short of calling for Gonzo to step down, will vote in favor of the no-confidence resolution. A vote scheduled this evening will require sixty votes -- ten GOP senators (in addition to all the Democrats and independents) -- to invoke cloture and proceed to the resolution. Besides the six named above and Specter, three other Senators have spoken disparagingly of the attorney general: Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. I'll update this post with the votes of all ten later tonight.

Update II (5:50 p.m.) Motion fails, 53-38. Six Republicans -- Coleman, Collins, Hagel, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Sununu -- supported the measure. Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska voted 'present'.

Joe Lieberman opposed it.

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