Reactions to Gonzo’s resignation

Been collecting some of the early reaction to the announcement that Alberto Gonzales has resigned. We’ll post more as they come in…

UPDATE: Just added statements from Pelosi and Conyers below — and now also Senator Clinton. Bush is speaking at 11:50 a.m. Word is that he’s not happy and is going to express his displeasure. Whatever. His A.G. is a liar — that’s standard operating procedure for Bush, but for most of the rest of us, that’s a problem.

John Edwards: “Better late than never.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who will oversee the confirmation hearing for the next AG, had this to say:

Reacting to press reports about the resignation, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said he hopes that Gonzales’s decision “will be a step toward getting to the truth about the level of political influence this White House wields over the Department of Justice and toward reconstituting its leadership so that the American people can renew their faith in its role as our leading law enforcement agency.”

Leahy added that under Gonzales, “the Department of Justice suffered a severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence.”

Senator John Cornyn is on CNN right now defending Gonzales. He thinks this is a “sad day” and “sad commentary.” That’s rich.

UPDATE:

Speaker Pelosi says it’s “long overdue”:

The resignation of Attorney General Gonzales is long overdue. The rampant politicization of federal law enforcement that occurred under his tenure seriously eroded public confidence in our justice system.

The President must now restore credibility to the office of the Attorney General. Given the serious loss of public trust and the disarray at the Department of Justice, the American people must have absolute confidence in the integrity of the next Attorney General as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and as defender of our constitution independent of political influence. The President’s nominee must have the character and stature to command that confidence.

The nominee must also pledge to cooperate with ongoing congressional oversight into the conduct of the White House in the politicization of federal law enforcement. Hearings on the nominee will provide Congress with another opportunity to examine the new, flawed FISA law and will aid in our efforts to improve it.

Chair of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers:

It is a sad day when the Attorney General of the United States resigns amid a cloud of suspicion that the system of justice has been manipulated for political purposes. More than accountability, we need answers. Unfortunately, the continued stonewalling of the White House in the U.S. Attorney scandal has deprived the American people of the truth. If the power of the prosecutor has been misused in the name of partisanship, we deserve a full airing of the facts. The responsibility to uncover these facts is still on the Congress, and the Judiciary Committee in particular.

Hillary Clinton weighs in — with a warning shot about the next nominee:

This resignation is long overdue, and so is the appointment of an Attorney General who will put the rule of law and our Constitution above partisan politics.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took an oath to uphold our Constitution and respect the rule of law, but time and time again, he demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the President and his political agenda, not the American people or the evenhanded and impartial enforcement of our laws. In his actions and inaction, from warantless wiretaps to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, his loyalty was to the President, not the American people.

The Department’s hardworking lawyers, law enforcement officers, and staff are trusted to defend our Constitution, not one Administration or political party. That trust is central to the sanctity of the rule of law and the vitality of our democracy. Because he betrayed his obligations and the trust of the American people, I welcome today’s announcement that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned his post as Attorney General of the United States.

My hope is that the President will select a new Attorney General who will respect the rule of law and abandon partisanship, who will serve the American people and not the President’s political ideology, and who will answer to the Constitution and not political operatives. It is past time to clean up this mess and restore non-partisan accountability and competence to the Department of Justice.

The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is one more reminder that the President must appoint someone to lead the Department of Justice with the leadership and competence necessary to defend the Constitution.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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