2 News Items about the Bush DoJ

Brian Zick

Steve Benen at TPM has a couple posts this morning on news stories coming from the Department of Justice. (Or rather the "Department of Justice.") • Alberto Gonzales has decided to institute a new "formal process" whereby he will personally meet with each US Attorney to let prosecutors know what they're doing wrong, what lawmakers on the Hill are complaining about, what the DoJ's expectations are of them, etc. Except, as the Chicago Tribune's Andrew Zajac explained, "[T]here's already an evaluation process run by the Justice Department's executive office for U.S. attorneys. But that only measures how well a prosecutor runs the office, not how loyal he or she is to the administration's agenda." • The Bush administration is trying to dictate to federal judges mandatory sentencing minimums, by promoting legislation to overturn a Supreme Court decision which gave judges some flexibility to determine sentencing on an appropriate case-by-case basis. U.S. District Judge Paul G. Cassell, chairman of the Criminal Law committee of the Judicial Conference, the judicial branch's policy-making body, is not pleased. "This would require one-size-fits-all justice," Cassell said. "The vast majority of the public would like the judges to make the individualized decisions needed to make these very difficult sentencing decisions. Judges are the ones who look the defendants in the eyes. They hear from the victims. They hear from the prosecutors." The Globe added that congressional Republicans "are seizing the administration's crackdown … as a campaign issue for 2008."

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