Friday, April 6, 2007

Chris Dodd (2005): unimpressed by AG nominee Gonzales

When Alberto Gonzales was nominated to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General, his role as an author of president's justifications for torture, his description of the Geneva Convention as "quaint" and his belief that the president had unique power to deny due process in a time of war, were all well known.

Following his victory in the 2004 election, George Bush felt the nation had affirmed his rule and he immediately put forward his White House Counsel as an ideal AG candidate, hoping in part that Democrats would be unable to vote against the first Latino in the position.

These were Senator Dodd's remarks before the vote:
February 3, 2005

[T]o suggest that this nomination is only or even principally a matter of ethnic pride does a disservice to the Latino community. As far as I can tell, members of that community are no different than people throughout our country.

They want to know not only who you are, and what you are, but what you think and what you believe. They want to know if the person nominated as the Nation's chief law enforcement officer will uphold the rule of law.

What is at stake here is whether he has demonstrated to the Senate that he will discharge the duties of the office to which he has been nominated. Specifically, whether he will enforce the Constitution and laws of the United States, and uphold the values upon which those laws are based. Regrettably, and disturbingly, he has fallen short of meeting this most basic and fundamental standard.

I say that for two basic reasons:

One, because in a nation founded on the principle of human freedom and dignity, he has endorsed the position that torture is permissible;

And two, in a nation dedicated to the proposition that all are equal and none is above the law, he has suggested that the President of the United States, acting as Commander-in-Chief, has the right to act in violation of laws and treaties prohibiting torture - and may authorize subordinates to do the same.

Gonzales was approved on a 60-36 vote.

All Republicans present, including McCain and Brownback, voted for his nomination.

Six Democratic senators also backed Bush's nominee: Joe Lieberman, Mary Landrieu, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and Ken Salazar.

Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Chris Dodd all voted against confirmation

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