People For The American Way Opposes Confirmation Of Gonzales

Public Record Demonstrates Torture Apologist Unfit to Serve as U.S. Attorney General

People For the American Way, a national civil rights and constitutional liberties organization, today sent U.S. Senators a statement strongly opposing the confirmation of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales as U.S. Attorney General. The statement reviews Gonzales’ repeated failures as a public official to meet the standards that should be expected of the nation’s highest law enforcement officer.

“The Attorney General must be the lawyer for the American people, not just the President,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “The public record makes it clear that Alberto Gonzales has far too frequently allowed his legal judgment to be driven by his close relationship with the President rather than adherence to the law or the Constitution.”

Neas said Gonzales’ lack of independence – particularly his willingness to subvert the law and the Constitution to the wishes of his superiors – and his deeply troubling actions on a range of important issues make him unfit to serve as the chief enforcer of Americans’ rights.

The People For the American Way statement reviews Gonzales’ record in:

  • undermining the rule of law and Americans’ legal protections under the Constitution;

  • supplying legal justifications for torture;
  • irresponsibly handling clemency applications from death-row inmates during his tenure as counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush;
  • promoting a divisive ideologically driven approach to judicial nominations;
  • leading a crusade for excessive secrecy to shield the executive branch from oversight and accountability; and
  • failing to acknowledge and act on personal conflicts of interest in the investigation of Enron.

    "Alberto Gonzales was a central architect of policies that have undermined America’s moral authority and have been rebuked by the Supreme Court," said Neas. "The fact that he has been rewarded with a nomination to be Attorney General demonstrates the astonishing and pervasive lack of accountability that is a hallmark of this administration."

    Neas noted that the confirmation hearings this week will be an opportunity for Senators to explore Gonzales’ record thoroughly, and for the American public to learn more about his actions.

    "The conventional wisdom has been that Gonzales will be easily confirmed,” said Neas. “But I believe that the issues raised at the confirmation hearing should make many Senators realize that this is a dismal choice for the Justice Department and for the American people."

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