Monday, May 21, 2007

the new york times editorial -- "why the attorneys matter. . ."

this is a very worthy read.
click the gray lady's wordmark to
read the whole opinion, but here is
a salient taste:

". . .The Justice Department is no ordinary agency.
Its 93 United States attorney offices, scattered
across the country, prosecute federal crimes
ranging from public corruption to terrorism.
These prosecutors have enormous power: they
can wiretap people’s homes, seize property
and put people in jail for life. They can
destroy businesses, and affect the outcomes
of elections. It has always been understood
that although they are appointed by a president,
usually from his own party, once in office they
must operate in a nonpartisan way
, and
be insulated from outside pressures. . .

It is now clear that United States attorneys
were pressured to act in the interests of the
Republican Party, and lost their job if they
failed to do so
. The firing offenses of the
nine prosecutors who were purged last year
were that they would not indict Democrats,
they investigated important Republicans, or
they would not try to suppress the votes of
Democratic-leaning groups with baseless
election fraud cases. . .

A study by two professors, Donald Shields
of the University
of Missouri at St.
Louis and John
Cragan of Illinois
State University,
found that the Bush
Justice Department
has investigated
Democratic officeholders
office seekers about four times as often
as Republican

It is hard not to see the fingerprints of
Karl Rove
. A disproportionate number of the
prosecutors pushed out, or considered for
, were in swing states. The main
reason for the purge — apart from hobbling
a California investigation
that has already
put one Republican congressman in jail — appears
to have been an attempt to tip states like Missouri
and Washington to Republican candidates for House,
Senate, governor and president. . .

Young operatives like Ms. Goodling were
apparently allowed to hire and promote based
on party membership
. Political appointees cleared
the way for laws [and lawsuits] designed to
disenfranchise minority voters, and brought
litigation to remove Democratic-leaning
voters from the rolls. . ."

each of the above links offers more
detail on the allegations made
in this fine collection-piece. . .

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