Rich Galen

As part of the "New Era of Cooperation in Washington" which was promised by the Democrats in the run-up to the elections last November, we are now embroiled in one of the sillier offenses against Democracy.

There are about 93 US Attorneys. As you know, eight of them were fired. Why they were fired is a matter for discussion. Whether they could be fired is not.

U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President. Like most Presidential appointments they serve - in the vernacular of the Federal government - at the pleasure of the President.

The Los Angeles Times' "Primer on US Attorneys" quotes the US Code as saying: "Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President."

Really? Hmmm. Someone should tell Senators Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee), Chuck Schumer (Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee - DSCC) and Barbara Boxer (Deputy Chair of the DSCC).

Just to make clear just how MUCH partisan politics is involved in this: Chuck Schumer (chair of the DSCC) is seventh in seniority of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He asked for, and was granted permission to, chair a hearing involving Senator Pete Domenici (about which, more later).

Barbara Boxer, in addition to being the deputy chair of the DSCC is also the chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and wants to open an investigation.

Partisan politics? Never heard of it.

The current theory among Senate Democrats and their allies in the popular press is that U.S. Attorneys should be above, beyond, and away from partisan politics.

Notwithstanding, again referring to the LA Times

Senators have traditionally played the key role in selecting U.S. attorneys for their states, especially when their party controls the White House … Senators recommend candidates to serve as the U.S. attorney, and the president usually accepts those suggestions.

Wait. What? "When their party controls the White House?" Isn't that what someone might call partisan politics?

Not only that, but the LAT reminds us that Federal District Judges - Judges - are similarly recommended by U.S. Senators who are generally attuned to the partisan POLITICS in their home States.

Donna Brazile and I were on Wolf Blitzer's CNN program Wednesday discussing this and Wolf was in full projectile sweat about it. When I pointed out (as others had before me) that Bill Clinton fired ALL 93 U.S. Attorneys when he took office, Wolf said that was different.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at