Who’s Politicizing Justice

March 22, 2007

One reason I have been urging Republicans to man their battle stations against Democrats is that Democrats are in perpetual, full-blown war mode against Republicans. The Democrats’ militant approach to the manufactured Justice Department scandal illustrates the point.

If Democrats, as they profess, are inclined toward bipartisanship and conciliation, why are they always alleging GOP scandal even before they have any idea what the facts are?

The answer is that it’s all about discrediting the president and augmenting their own power, which is why they always try to tie Cheney or Rove personally to every event they mischaracterize as a scandal.

So it is with this latest installment concerning the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Despite the unfortunate responses from Alberto Gonzalez, probably born of wholly justified defensiveness toward the Democrat scandalmongers, all available facts point to the conclusion that no impropriety was involved on the part of either the Justice Department or the White House.

Democrats know that presidents have broad discretion to terminate U.S. attorneys so long as they aren’t trying to interfere with investigations or the like. But where were Democrats when Janet Reno, almost immediately after becoming attorney general, took the unprecedented action of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys even before they had successors lined up to take their places? Yet Democrats insist on jumping to the worst possible conclusions concerning the Gonzalez Justice Department’s much less extreme action of firing only eight.

Scandalmongerer in chief, Sen. Chuck Schumer, exploited reports of these firings with his customary even-handedness. He didn’t suggest that we need to examine the facts to determine whether any wrongdoing occurred. He immediately accused Gonzalez of gross improprieties and demanded he resign because he is putting politics above the law. What? Talk about calling the kettle black!

It is Schumer and his fellow Bush-haters who are putting politics above the law, like they put partisan politics above almost everything else, including America’s national security interests. How better to describe Schumer’s demands that Gonzalez resign for engaging in the completely lawful and ethical act of firing attorneys serving at the president’s discretion, likely because of policy differences or performance?

Even the reliably liberal Washington Post has conceded that so far, “little evidence” has emerged that the firings were calculated to interfere with the administration of justice. What, then, do Schumer and his colleagues know that we don’t? Nothing, of course, except the important lesson that allegations of wrongdoing repeated over and over damage their target, even when they are baseless.

Schumer’s Democrats are demanding that the evil Rove and others shackle themselves in leg braces and shuffle over to Congress to volunteer themselves as witch-trial, perjury trap martyrs in the spirit of the fallen Scooter Libby. When at first you don’t succeed at taking down Cheney and Rove, try, try again.

President Bush, though admirably standing his ground so far and properly upholding the integrity of the executive branch against this Democratic legislative power grab, has been very accommodating and forthcoming with the evidence. If Democrats were interested in the facts, instead of rushing to injustice, they would be jumping at this opportunity to examine the evidence before jumping to conclusions of criminality.

Bush has offered that Rove and others meet informally with the witchhunters, and is providing mountains of e-mails and other documentary evidence for them to peruse in their quest for just a sliver of a morsel to suggest the faintest hint of a shred of barely discernible ambiguity that could be stretched, contorted and distorted enough to fool some into believing wrongdoing occurred.

We must encourage the president to hold his ground here and, the next time Sen. Schumer expectorates false charges against him, to reverse the charges. He should say to Mr. Schumer, “Senator, you are the one subordinating the law to politics. You are the one acting unethically and abusing your power, by wrongfully accusing public officials of wrongdoing and demanding their resignation without any evidence wrongdoing occurred. If you have a scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing, produce it, or hold your slanderous tongue. Before lecturing us again on politics and justice, explain to us why you routinely savage my highly qualified and ethical judicial nominees for crass political purposes.”

By the way, where was Sen. Schumer when President Clinton and Attorney General Reno were giving a nearly eight-year seminar on how to politicize and corrupt the Justice Department? I devoted an entire book to that subject and would be glad to send an uninscribed copy to the senator, reminding him that he was conspicuously silent during that period.