So You Wanna Be AG

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

What makes a good attorney general? In looking for a cut of tape for the top of the show today, it became clear that some folks think the answer is someone whose views are in line with those of the president, but there's also a contingency that believes no, it's more about a dedication to understanding and interpreting the law. What do you think? If you're a fan of the current commander in chief, you might think the former... and if you're not, you're likely to choose the latter. But what if the tides changed, and your ideal candidate was elected, and vice versa? Would you still want an AG who adhered to the letter of the law if your ideologies were in line with the prez, or one who follows the boss when you're not a fan of his positions? It's tough to phrase, but it just seems like there's an easy answer... until you think about the other side.

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No easy answer. Needs to be someone generally (read that again: GENERALLY) aligned with the thinking of his boss, the President. It's not reasonable to expect the President - or any boss - to choose his opposites or enemies for his "employees." That said, the individual must also have the strength and moxie to stand up to his boss when he's (the President is) legally wrong. Most of the time, the AG should be helping the President (in the abstract here, folks) to figure out how to achieve what he wants to achieve LEGALLY. Now and then, when what the President wants can't be done legally, he has to be strong enough to stand on principle.

Thos

Sent by Thos | 3:18 PM | 8-30-2007

Talk of the Nation is interviewing Jamie Goreleck regarding the "preferred" position of what it takes to be Attorney General. I would like to know what her position is with regard to situations where the existing laws do not allow law enforcement or the military to conduct investigations in a timely manner to safegaurd the country and its citizens! Congress passes all laws and they are signed off by the President. But, in a time of war, and a Congress that can't "pass anything of value", does she expect the President to lay back and not take the appropriate action even though currently not allowed by law?

Sent by Kenneth Freking | 3:24 PM | 8-30-2007

Platitudes aside, consider that the new attorney general is likely to be inheriting a series of ongoing investigations into corruption in the administration and Congress. Given the firings of the nine US Attorneys, there's also the possibility that political efforts were taken to try to limit or derail some of these investigations, which could give rise to obstruction of justice charges. There were reports of some political efforts to prevent the indictment of Dusty Foggo of the CIA. The prior attorney general is being investigated for lying to Congress. Your experts might comment on how the new AG will interface with these ongoing investigations of political corruption.

Sent by Cary Adams | 3:30 PM | 8-30-2007

Talk of the Town is currently interviewing Jamie Goreleck, former Assistant Attorney General under Janet Reno in the Clinton Administration. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I first hand was affected by the restraints placed by the then Justice Department on the sharing of the information between agents and agencies, particularly between criminal and counter intelligence investigations and other matters. Gorelick has been determined to have authored the "memo" placing these restrictions (the wall) on the investigative agencies and which has been determined to have caused 9/11 to have occurred. Is she yet ready to take responsibility for her actions?

Sent by Ken Freking | 3:32 PM | 8-30-2007

I did my medical intership and residency (in radiology), as well as several years of post residency training in Philadelphia between 1965 and 1973. During most (if not all) of that period, Arlen Specter was the D.A. of Philadelphia. If I were to vote for AG of the US, Senator Specter would get my vote. In my opinion, his experience is ideal, and his character is beyond reproach. I believe Senator Specter would be an exemplary AG in any administration and would serve the US admirably. Whether he would accept the position, of course is another matter.

K J Billings, MD
Wisconsin

Sent by K J Billings, MD | 3:34 PM | 8-30-2007

What are your thoughts, Jamie, about the reinstatement of the eight terminated prosecutors? I'm particularly interested in the former US Attorney in Arizona, Paul Charlton.

Sent by Michael Marizco | 3:41 PM | 8-30-2007

What are your thoughts, Jamie, about your serving on the 9/11 commission, which had the responsibility of investigating the obstacles you participated in placing between the FBI and (e.g.) the CIA during your DOJ tenure?

Sent by Tom Emmert | 5:54 PM | 8-30-2007

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