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Senators urge Bush to avoid confirmation battle with unifying nominee for attorney general

Senators urge Bush to avoid confirmation battle with unifying nominee for attorney general

Senators urged President George W. Bush on Wednesday to avoid a confirmation battle over the next attorney general nominee by picking a unifying person who could heal a Justice Department reeling from accusations of playing politics.
The White House has dispatched some of its top aides to talk to lawmakers on the judiciary committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, seeking names of candidates to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He announced Monday he will step down Sept. 17.
In the American political system, the president nominates Cabinet members and other senior officials, and the Senate approves or rejects the nominations.
Gonzales has been criticized over the firings of nine federal prosecutors. Republicans and Democrats alike have challenged Gonzales' credibility over the firings and the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance programs for which Gonzales fought.
In a letter Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said he looks forward to advising Bush in selecting a new attorney general who "will unite the nation."
It will be Leahy's committee that largely decides whether Bush's nominee to be the nation's 81st attorney general will be approved.
"There are a number of candidates, any one of whom could be a unifying nominee and serve as an outstanding attorney general," Leahy wrote, asking that Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee's top Republican, also be included in talks with Bush.
"We all want a Department of Justice worthy of its name and great tradition," Leahy wrote.
Republicans, too, said Bush needs to pick someone known more for professional credentials than for ideology or politics.
"We need somebody with real stature and a proven record who can restore the morale at the department and be more than a caretaker," Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Judiciary Committee member, said in a telephone interview.
"It's just important to get somebody who's a proven professional who knows the department and who has the respect of the individuals in the department, regardless of politics."


Updated : 2021-05-11 14:44 GMT+08:00