I know you’ve all been waiting with baited(sic) breath for this next one… The THIRD installment of “Get to Know Your Cabinet Members!” This one is dedicated to a very special man… a man that has done a great deal
for to this country. A man who’s dedication to President Bush is surpassed only by that of the great Karl Rove, or perhaps Dick Cheney. A man who’s dedication to the President is so great it even surpasses his dedication to the Constitution or Legal Objectivity. Thats right… Attorney General Alberto Gonzales!
Gonzales lived most of his early life in Texas, being raised in a Catholic household. There is some controversy over the legal citizen status of his grandparents, and it it widely believed that they entered this country illegally. His father worked in construction until his death in 1982. Gonzales’s four year career in the military (Air Force) is well documented and his attendance has been verified. After his time in the military he went on to get a BS in Political Science from Rice University (Texas) and a Law Degree from Harvard. He’s been married twice and has three kids, all with his second wife. Gonzales first became involved with (then Governor) Bush back in 1994. At the time he was a Partner of the very successful law practice Vinson and Elkins.
Vinson and Elkins is a successful INTERNATIONAL firm, with law offices in many international cities… including Dubai (UAE) and Beijing (China). V&E has represented many high profile clients, including Enron. However, I must stress that I am not in any way implying that Mr. Gonzales had any personal responsibility for any of the actions in the Enron cases or with any other clients that V&E may have represented. Nor am I implying that V&E has any issues with ethical scruples. Mr. Gonzales did, after all, leave the company in 1994, an V&E had nothing to do with Enron’s internal administration. But, you know, keep in mind that this firm thought Gonzales was partner material. By the way, eod, if this article gets you sued again I apologize, again.
Gonzales quickly moved up the ranks in Governor Bush’s adminstration. The first move was from General Counsel to Secretary of State when Bush appointed him in 1999. One of the duties of the Secretary of State of Texas is to maintain public records on Texas Corporations, banking transactions, legislative mandates, and many other public organizations. As Secretary of State he was also the Chief Election Officer of Texas. The Chief Election Officer assists county officials and ensures uniform application of election laws throughout the state. He is also keeper of the ‘Seal of Texas’ which is required to be affixed on official documents, such as pardons. (The seal didn’t see much use, in my opinion). After that short period as Secretary of State he was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in January 1999, where he remained until until December of 2000. At that time he was appointed as White House Counsel to President George Bush. In addition to awards and for his community service, he was awarded the Presidential Citation from the Texas State Bar in 1997. In 1999 he was named Latino Lawyer of the year by the Hispanic National Bar Association. In 2005 the HNBA released a public press release urging the congress to push through Gonzales’s appointment as Attorney General. The list of controversies arising from his actions while in various offices of Texas are quite long and varied. It includes the Bush Drunk Driving jury-duty scandal, and several questions involving allegedly ignored appeals for clemency or pardon. Ironically his reasoning for excusing the Governor from jury-duty was because the Governor may be called upon to pardon the accused. In November, 2001 Gonzales drafted an Executive Order that attempted to place limits on the Freedom of Information act. It has been alleged (by me) that this limit was being attempted to prevent access to President Clintons and President George H.W. Bush’s records on Iraq and Al Quaeda. It was also near this time that Gonzales started to interpret the Constitution AND the Geneva Convention in rather original ways; recommending that Habeas Corpus, human rights provisions, and definitions of ‘inhumane treatment’ did not apply to alleged Al Qaeda members or Taliban members. During later confirmation hearings for his Attorney General appointment he claimed not to recall or agree with any of these recommendations. Since then he has also been accused of being directly involved in handing over alleged combatants to be deported to nations that allowed torture in order to extract information. He was able to delay or prevent any investigations into the Cheney Energy Task Force, which was conducting its meetings (and giving its recommendations) in secrecy. Here is where the time line gets blurry and I have trouble following along. His involvement in Illegal Wire Tapping, Patriot Act misuse, additional revocations of Habeas Corpus, Attorney Firings, and the harassment of a very sick man (John Ashcroft) are seemingly spread out over the course of several years. Sometime in the middle of all that he was confirmed as Attorney General, and sometime between swearing in and being called to testify before congress he seemed to get a horrible case of selective amnesia.
Somehow he has managed to avoid impeachment. One only hopes he is not still on the list of possible Supreme Court nominees. His selective amnesia is surpassed only by that of the great Karl Rove, or perhaps Dick Cheney. Here is a Random Quote from Mr. Gonzales: You have a special obligation to protect America against future acts of terrorism. We will continue to make that our top priority while remaining consistent with our values and legal obligations. That will be the lodestar that guides us in our efforts at the Department. Hmm. I wonder what that means by values. Plus, whats a lodestar?
Lodestar: A term used in connection with an award of attorneys fees made by the court which is based on time spent on the case and an hourly fee. In some instances the “Lodestar” may be adjusted according to circumstances underlying the services performed.