Smooth sailing for Gonzales

By Eric Boehlert
Published November 19, 2004 7:34PM (UTC)
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Any doubts that may have lingered about Alberto R. Gonzales' chances of being confirmed as President Bush's next attorney general were put to rest this morning, when Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the New York Times that Democrats will not oppose the move. Critics had raised questions about the legal advice Gonzales had given the White House regarding the use of Guantánamo Bay, and his suggestions that the facility was outside the reach of U.S. courts and the rule of law. That's a finding more and more judges find plainly flawed. Gonzales was also at the center of the White House's post-9/11 legal strategy that the Geneva Conventions were "obsolete" and "quaint."

But it appears none of that will matter much, because Gonzales has two big things going for him: a strong Republican majority in the Senate, and even more important inside Washington, likability. Said Leahy, "I like him."

Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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