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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:06 PM
Original message
Bush Holdover Might Be Planning An "October Surprise"
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Nothing exemplifies the Obama administration's sorry record on justice issues quite like its mishandling of the U.S. attorney position in the Middle District of Alabama. A source tells Legal Schnauzer that the administration's bungling in Montgomery might be setting up Democrats for an "October surprise" just before the November elections.

The White House is unlikely to appoint a replacement for Bush holdover Leura Canary before the first of the year, according to a report at mainjustice.com . That means Canary will have time to carry out a plan that, according to our source, involves issuing indictments for several prominent Democrats over an investigation of gambling-related measures in the Alabama Legislature.

Our source, who has close ties to the Alabama legal community, says the plan is set to take flight around October 1 and might include an indictment of Ron Sparks, the Democratic candidate for governor. In other words, plans for a political prosecution that is designed to affect the outcome of an election might be taking place right under the Obama administration's nose.

Indictments might be coming down for about a dozen Democrats, our source says, plus Victoryland gambling magnate Milton McGregor. Canary, of course, is infamous for her role in the political prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. Obama apparently plans to let her stay in office almost two full years, perhaps allowing her to pull off one more scam on the citizens of Alabama.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Bush-Holdover-Might-Be...

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yourout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. In my eyes one of the biggest screwups by the Obama camp was not purging the DOJ before he was.....
done with his inauguration speech.

Every last Bush appointee should have been handed their walking papers.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. A monstrous nonfeasance of unparalleled proportions that will likely come back to bite Dems in the
political ass as will likely all other similar instances of Bush ideologues held over to subvert. Monstrously inexplicably inexplicable: what is DOJ/the administration thinking, what political grass must they be smoking? ;)
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arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Extremely well-said!
I still can't wrap my head around that even after all this time... nor can I think of any reason/excuse not to have done so.
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. O.K., so I work for the federal government as a career employee. Are you sure...
that like the Interior Department and EPA before that, these Bush appointees didn't burrow their way through federal agencies? Once you're hired, it's very difficult to fire federal employees--even those who burrow themselves in after their appointed positions end. In fact, there are still several Bush appointees at the agency where I work. They are now considered permanent career employees.

Don't blame Obama if he can't do anything about that.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Federal prosecutors of Canary's rank are appointed. They are not civil service.
It's hard to imagine how the White House could screw up the Middle District of Alabama even worse than it already was. But the Obama Department of Justice might have found a way. And Democrats could pay a huge price in a few weeks.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Bush-Holdover-Might-Be...
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Then again, remember that the Senate Republicans are deliberately holding up Obama's lower court
appointments. There is a very long list of nominees from DOJ being held up.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/16/obama-judicial...

Another recent story just the other day:

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/national_w...
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. True! I saw that article. Up or down vote.
Look, we had 60 members in Congress at one time.

I really think our problem is a lack of discipline in the ranks of Democrats. We should expect Republicans to be naysayers. That's what works for them.

But when members of our own team don't play their parts, that is disgusting.

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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. The real issue is that we never really had 60 votes. We never had a solid majority.
Why? Because we had Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Joe LIEberman and other Blue Dogs and Corporate Democrats to worry about.

The problem is that the Democratic Party is not--and has never been--a monolith. We don't walk in lockstep. And that's the greatest strength of the party...and definitely its greatest weakness.

Because the Republicans have marginalized or discarded all of its liberals and moderates, it's easier for them to be cohesive and unified. Even so-called moderates like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins started talking the crazy wingnut crap and going along with their party on everything. They are Republicans, first! Then, Americans. That has become so much clearer to me in the last 10 years or so. They don't care anything about the average American and his/her well being. They could care less. All they care about is power and filling the pockets of the rich, the corporations and the power elite. That's all.

The Democrats have to contend with this.

Obama can't be blamed in as much as he has had to deal with the corporatists in the party.

And Nancy Pelosi is a true American hero! I may not have supported her in all of her decisions, but the fact that she fearlessly got things done and stood up to the Republicans has changed my view.

The saddest aspect of this year's elections is not that the Democrats may lose power, but that those Democrats who weren't cowards and who did the right thing--like Feingold and Boxer, for instance--may end up being punished by voters even though they were the true champions and leaders.

To me, that's the saddest part of this narrative; it's the one that has made me most depressed.

But I'm not giving up. I'm still going to work hard to GOTV and make phone calls, and donate some time and money, since I live in a safely Democratic district (Van Hollen).
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I'm going to have to Google,
but I have a distinct recollection of Bush (during his last few lame duck weeks of office) had some of his appointments changed to "fire-proof" Civil Service status. I didn't even know that such things were even possible! Perhaps, with your fed experience, you can comment?
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. A large number of Bush political appointments burrowed themselves into the federal government.
Edited on Thu Sep-09-10 09:24 PM by Liberal_Stalwart71
That's why we had such corruption in the Dept. of Interior and left over crooks in the EPA. Rachel Maddow did a major story on Bush political appointees and burrowing in. I don't even know of any Clinton appointments that remained after Clinton's tenure. But I do know a good number of Bush appointees who are now civil servants and remain in the government. Apparently it's not that hard to do. In fact, my former boss--a Bush appointee--was able to burrow in because she made friends within the agency. In fact, right before Bush left office, he made sure agencies were stacked with Bush loyalists. That's why we had problems during the BP disaster fiasco. So many corrupt Bush appointees imbedded within the agency, not that Ken Salazar made things better.

Here are some stories on this issue:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/11/18/04256/039/509/...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/17/bush-burrowing...

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2008/11/18/...

Rachel's show: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28141826/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel...
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Thanks for all those links!
The second one leads to a WaPo article. That was the one I "thought" I had bookmarked, but apparently did not. But how does an appointed official become near impregnable ("burrowed in"), in so short a period of time?

This nation has had a lengthy period in its history, when each incoming administration gleefully "threw all those rascals out". It was called the "Spoils System", and to a large degree, "Civil Service Reform" addressed that. I didn't support Obama (more so than any other Democrat in my adult life!) with the hope that he'd restore that old Spoils System.
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. Civil Service Reform is a joke. It is still easy to get your friends imbedded into the agency
There were efforts to push for more reform to ensure that the employment process remains open and competitive, but you don't always get consistency. It's just like anything else, and I'm sure happens in the private, corporate world as well. There's no surefire way to ensure oppenness and fairness in hiring in the public sector.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I was thinking of the initial Civil Service Reform of the 1880s, that was championed by Garfield.
Just the thought of it enraged a disappointed office-seeker enough to assassinate him early in his term. It was finally enacted by his successor, Chester Arthur. It was relatively toothless at first, but it marked the end of that of that disgraceful Spoils`System.

We all recall how Bush43 DISGRACED the office of Presidency by firing all those`District Attorneys. But I for one. am happy that Obama chose to NOT emulate that creep. Taking the High Road is risky, especially when dealing with moral monsters like Cheney or Rove. But if successful, the long term pay-off could be IMMENSE. Let's all wish him luck, rather than echoing; "I hope he FAILS!"
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Agreed immensely!! n/t
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
20. DOJ? Try the DOD for size!
Lots of Bush leftovers.
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. "A source" tells them? Isn't this just speculation? I'm sorry but I unitil it happens we shouldn't
believe everything we read. There seems to be a lot of speculation going around lately. At least I hope it is just speculation.
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-09-10 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. The fact is, that Obama left Bush appointed US Attorney's all over the country.
Many of them, were implicated in political shenanigans and prosecutions. Canary was one of the most vile. She was referred to as one of "Karl's Girls", meaning Rove.

That's not speculation, that's fact.

As was stated upthread, that Department should have been purged within five minutes of the inauguration.
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Mrs. Ted Nancy Donating Member (303 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 01:45 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. US Attorney Appointment
The U.S. Attorney is appointed by the President of the United States for a term of four years, with appointments subject to confirmation by the Senate. A U.S. Attorney shall continue in office, beyond the appointed term, until a successor is appointed and qualified. By law, each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President. The Attorney General has had the authority since 1986 to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys to fill a vacancy.


http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/28/541.html


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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. More on US Attorney appointment.
Of particular note is interim US Attorney appointments.

U.S. Attorneys and Game Theory
http://demopedia.democraticunderground.com/discuss/dubo...

The President shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.


U.S. Attorneys are officers of the United States (Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 at 126 (1976)). U.S. Attorneys are subordinate to the Attorney General and are thus categorized as inferior officers (United States v. Gantt, 194 F.3d 987 at 999 (9th Cir. 1999)). The Attorney General sets the salaries for U.S. Attorneys, reassigns them to different cases at his discretion, and reimburses them for office expenses (id at 1000). The Attorney Generals authority over U.S. Attorneys is nearly complete, the one statutory limitation being the appointment (should Senate approval be granted) and removal power of U.S. Attorneys, a power that Congress chose to vest in the President (id at 1000).

U.S. Attorneys are inferior officers under the Appointments Clause and as such Congress may, at their discretion, choose to vest the power to appoint them in the President, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The excepting clause was challenged in Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). The Court affirmed that interbranch appointments were not unconstitutional (id at 673). The Court stated that while it was common and suitable to vest the power to appoint inferior officers in the departments in which they would serve, the Constitution made no requirement to do so (Morrison, 487 U.S. 654 at 674, quoting Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (1880)).

U.S.C. 28, 541(b) states, Each U.S. Attorney shall be appointed for a term of 4 years. On the expiration of his term, a U.S. Attorney shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor is appointed and qualified. Should a U.S. Attorneys position become vacant, an interim U.S. Attorney must be appointed. The judiciary had held the power to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys since the Civil War (Gantt, 194 F.3d at 997, 998). This changed in 1986 when Congress enacted 546(d) of U.S.C. 28, authorizing the Attorney General to appoint a United States Attorney for the district in which the office is vacant for 120 days (Gantt, 194 F. 3d at 998, quoting U.S.C. 28, 546(d)). After 120 days, the district court was authorized to appoint an interim U.S. Attorney to serve in the district until President appointed a U.S. Attorney and received Senate confirmation (id).

In United States v. Hilario, 218 F.3d 19 (2000), the constitutionality of district courts to make interim U.S. Attorney appointments was challenged. It was determined that by appointing members of the Executive Branch who serve the Judicial Branch, judges ensure not only the enforcement of the laws but also an effective adversarial process (id at 21). Additionally, Judge Cerezo, citing Morrison 487 U.S. 654 at 676, declared that the Court had recognized no encroachment on executive powers nor did it find an inherent incongruity about a court having the power to appoint prosecutorial officers (id at 22).

Interbranch appointments of interim U.S. Attorneys established an appointees independence. Judges had no authority to supervise or remove interim U.S. Attorneys, nor could they influence an interim U.S. Attorneys performance (id at 23). The Presidents power to remove an interim U.S. Attorney or appoint a new U.S. Attorney remained (id). The Attorney General could also reassign the interim U.S. Attorney to a different case (id at 24). Interbranch appointments could not then be found to violate the doctrine of separation of powers.

Writing in Federalist No. 77, Alexander Hamilton (1788) advised against the vesting of appointments into the departments to which the appointee would serve, predicting such appointments would lead to governmental instability and exposure to executive influence. Independence of interim U.S. Attorneys from their appointers is necessary to maintain integrity and avoid coercion. As the Court had stated in Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 at 88 (1935):

The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all, and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.


U.S. Attorneys are endowed with powers enumerated in 28 U.S.C. 547, which allow them to:

(1) Prosecute for all offenses against the United States; (2) prosecute or defend, for the government, all civil actions, suits, or proceedings in which the United States is concerned; (3) appear in behalf of the defendants in all civil actions, suits or proceedings pending district against collectors, or other officers of the revenue or customs for any act done by them or for the recovery of any money exacted by or paid to such officers, and by them paid into the Treasury; (4) institute and prosecute proceedings for the collection of fines, penalties, and forfeitures incurred for violation of any revenue law, unless satisfied upon investigation that justice does not require such proceedings; and (5) make such reports as the Attorney General shall direct.


Because of the power commanded by the position of U.S. Attorney, independence and neutrality are crucial to avoid abuse. Partisan influence, coercion, or rewards for favors can turn the office of U.S. Attorney into a dangerous weapon against citizens. The Court addressed the threat posed by compromised U.S. Attorneys in Berger 295 U.S. 78 at 88:

While he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one. Improper suggestions, insinuations, and, especially, assertions of personal knowledge are apt to carry much weight against the accused, when they should carry none.

Given the potential to damage lives, careers, and reputations, it is essential that safeguards be in place to prevent U.S. Attorneys from miscarrying justice.

With the establishment of the rules, this paper will now observe the moves of the competitors in the balance of power game. The first move was to change the rules. In spite of the long-accepted, constitutionally sound, independence-preserving method of appointing interim U.S. Attorneys, the appointment process was radically changed with the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2006. Removed was the interbranch appointment from the district court; the Attorney General could now make interim U.S. Attorney appointments. Also eliminated was the 120 day period that interim U.S. Attorneys could stay in office before a district court could appoint an interim U.S. Attorney to fill the vacancy. Interim U.S. Attorneys could now remain in office indefinitely, or until the President appointed a U.S. Attorney to the district. Interim U.S. Attorney appointments bypassed Senate confirmation, leaving the determination of qualification to the Justice Department.

The insertion of this new clause into the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act went unnoticed. Senators were at a loss to explain how the clause made its way into the bill. It was later determined that the Justice Department had requested Brett Tolman to insert the clause into the bill (Kiel, 2007). At the time the clause was inserted Mr. Tolman was a counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which is Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is a member. Sen. Specter responded to inquiries about his involvement with the clause by saying, I do not slip things in (Kiel, 2007, p. 1). According to Sen. Specter, the principal reason for the change was to resolve separation of power issues (Kiel, 2007, p. 2). The Senate voted to repeal the clause in February 2007 (P.L. 110-34, 2007). Mr. Tolman is now a U.S. Attorney for the state of Utah.
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. Seems to me the Dems had their panties in a bunch about political purges of the DOJ when Bush was
in office. So you are suggesting they should do the exact same thing now that they are in office?
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 02:02 AM
Response to Original message
14. If they're corrupt- and he has the evidence, what's the problem?
Hell, at least SOMEONE in this disgrace of a Justice Department is actually holding people accountable.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-11-10 03:05 AM
Response to Original message
22. K&R
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