Alberto Reynaldo Gonzales
(born August 4, 1955) was the 80th Attorney General of the
Gonzales was appointed to the post in
February 2005 by President George W.
. Gonzales was the first Hispanic
to serve as United States
Attorney General. While Bush was Governor of Texas, Gonzales had served as
his general counsel, and subsequently he served as Secretary of State of Texas and
then on the Texas Supreme
From 2001 to 2005, Gonzales served in the
White House Counsel
controversies and allegations of perjury
before Congress, on August 27, 2007 Gonzales announced his
resignation as Attorney General, effective September 17, 2007.
2009, Gonzales began teaching a political science course at
He will also serve as the diversity
recruiter for the Texas
Tech University System
Alberto Gonzales was born to a Catholic
Antonio, Texas, and raised
in Humble, a town
outside of Houston.
was the second of eight children born to Pablo and Maria Gonzales.
His father, who died in 1982, was a construction worker
. According to Gonzales,
no immigration documentation exists for three of his grandparents
and thus they may have entered and resided in the United States
honors student at MacArthur High School in
unincorporated Harris County, Gonzales enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1973, for
a four year term of enlistment, serving two years at Fort
Yukon, Alaska before released from active duty to be a
cadet at the United
States Air Force Academy.
Prior to beginning his third
year at the academy, which would have caused him to incur a further
service obligation, he left the Academy and was released from the
enlistment contract, then he transferred to Rice University
in Houston, where he was a
resident of Lovett College
earned a bachelor's degree
earned a Juris Doctor degree from
School in 1982.
Gonzales has been married twice: he and his first wife, Diane
Clemens, divorced in 1985; he and his second wife, Rebecca Turner
Gonzales, have three sons.
Gonzales was an attorney
in private practice
from 1982 until 1994 with the Houston law firm Vinson and Elkins
, where he became a
partner. Gonzales worked primarily with corporate clients,
especially ENRON CORP and was recommended for appointment to the
Texas Supreme Court by Kenneth Lay, the ENRON CORP CEO who was
later convicted of money laundering and fraud. In 1994, he was
named general counsel to then-Texas
Governor George W. Bush, rising to become Secretary of State of Texas in
1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, both appointments made by Governor
Outside of his political and legal career, Gonzales was active in
the community. He was a board director of the United Way
of the Texas Gulf Coast
from 1993 to 1994, and President of Leadership Houston during this
same period. In 1994, Gonzales served as Chair of the Commission
for District Decentralization of the Houston Independent School
, and as a member of the Committee on Undergraduate
Admissions for Rice University. He was chosen as one of Five
Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Jaycees
in 1994. He was a member of delegations sent
by the American Council of Young Political Leaders to Mexico in
1996 and to the People's Republic of China in 1995. He received the
Presidential Citation from the State
Bar of Texas
in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic
legal needs of the indigent. In 1999, he was named Latino
Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar
to Governor Bush, Gonzales helped Bush to be excused from jury duty when he was called in a 1996 Travis
County drunk driving
The case led to controversy during Bush's 2000 presidential campaign
because Bush's answers to the potential juror questionnaire did not
disclose Bush's own 1976 misdemeanor
drunk driving conviction
Gonzales's formal request for Bush to be excused from jury duty
hinged upon that, as Governor of Texas, he might be called upon to
pardon the accused in the case.
As Governor Bush's counsel in Texas, Gonzales also reviewed all
requests. A 2003 article in
The Atlantic Monthly
asserts that Gonzales gave insufficient counsel, and failed to
second-guess convictions and failed appeals. Only one death
sentence was over-turned by Governor Bush, and the state of Texas
more prisoners during
Gonzales's term than any other state.
War on Terror
The Executive Order 13233
drafted by Gonzales and issued by George W. Bush on November 1,
2001 shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks
attempted to place limitations on the Freedom of
by restricting access to the records of former
authored a controversial memo in January 2002 that explored whether
Article III of the Geneva
Convention applied to Al-Qaeda and
Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and held in detention facilities around the world,
including Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
memo made several arguments both for and against providing Article
III protection to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He concluded that
Article III was outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured
Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. He described as "quaint" the
provisions that require providing captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban
fighters "commissary privileges, scrip, athletic uniforms, and
scientific instruments". He also argued that existing military
regulations and instructions from the President were more than
adequate to ensure that the principles of the Geneva Convention
would be applied. He also argued that undefined language in the
, such as
"outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment", could
make officials and military leaders subject to the War Crimes Act of 1996
mistreatment was discovered.
In 2004, when this memo was leaked to the press, Gonzales said
about the memo in Senate confirmation hearings that "… I don't
recall today whether or not I was in agreement with all of the
analysis, but I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then
reached by the department."
Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream
jet carrying David Addington
, Gonzales, John Rizzo
, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher
and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed
al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Jose Padilla,
and finally to Norfolk,
Virginia to view Yaser Esam
According to a New York Times
despite a public legal opinion issued in December 2004 that
declared torture "abhorrent," that shortly after Gonzales became
Attorney General in February 2005 that the Justice Department
issued another, secret opinion which for the first time provided
explicit authorization to barrage terror
suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological
tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid
temperatures. Gonzales reportedly approved the legal memorandum on
“combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey
the outgoing deputy attorney general, who told colleagues at the
Justice Department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world
eventually learned of it. According to The Times report, the 2005
Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal
conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent
and John Conyers
, chairmen of the respective Senate
and House Judiciary Committees, requested that the Justice
Department turn over documents related to the secret February 2005
legal opinion to their committees for review.
Gonzales also authored the Presidential Order which authorized the
use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects. He fought with
Congress to keep Vice President Dick
's Energy task force
documents from being reviewed. Gonzales was also an early advocate
of the controversial USA PATRIOT
23, 2006, Gonzales, along with Deputy Director of the FBI John S. Pistole
gave a high level press briefing
involving the Miami bomb plot to
attack the Sears Tower
On November 14, 2006, invoking universal jurisdiction
proceedings were started in Germany for his alleged involvement
under the command
of prisoner abuse by writing the controversial
Featured in the 2008 Academy award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side
Gonzales's name was sometimes floated as a
possible nominee to the United States Supreme Court during Bush's first presidential term.
November 10, 2004, it was announced that he would be nominated to
replace United States
Attorney General John Ashcroft
Bush's second term. Gonzales was regarded as a moderate compared to
Ashcroft because he did not oppose abortion
or affirmative action
The departure from the conservative viewpoint elicited strong
opposition to Gonzales that started during his Senate
confirmation proceedings at the
beginning of President Bush's second term. The New York Times
Republican officials as saying that Gonzales's appointment to
Attorney General was a way to "bolster Mr. Gonzales's credentials"
en route to a later Supreme Court appointment.
The nomination was approved on February 3, 2005, with the
confirming vote largely split along party lines 60–36 (54
Republicans and 6 Democrats in favor, and 36 Democrats against,
along with 4 abstentions: 3 Democrat and 1 Republican).He was sworn
in on February 14, 2005.
Speculation over a Supreme Court nomination
before the July 1, 2005 retirement of Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United
States Sandra Day
O'Connor, rumors started circulating that a memo had leaked
from the White House stating that upon the retirement of either
O'Connor or Chief
Justice of the United States William Rehnquist, that Gonzales would be
the first nominee for a
vacancy on the Court.
conservative stalwarts such as National Review magazine and Focus on the
Family, among other socially conservative groups, stated
they would oppose a Gonzales nomination.
Much of their opposition to Gonzales was based on his perceived
support of abortion rights
typically, they cited his place in the majority opinions of various
Texas Supreme Court rulings in a series of In re Jane Doe
cases from 2000 that ordered lower courts to reconsider minor
women's requests for a "judicial bypass"
provided in a provision of Texas' parental notification law, and in
one case (43 Tex. Sup. J. 910), granted the bypass that allowed the
girl to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents. Gonzales
wrote concurring opinions in two of these cases: In re Jane Doe
(43 Tex. Sup. J. 508) and In re Jane Doe 5
Sup. J. 910). For In re Jane Doe 3
he concurred, on the
legal grounds that the lower court had issued its ruling only one
business day after the Texas Supreme Court had issued guidance on
what the applicant for a judicial bypass must prove, with the
differently reasoned majority opinion to remand the case to the
For In re Jane Doe 5
his concurring opinion began with the
sentence, "I fully join in the Court's judgment and opinion." He
went on, though, to address the three dissenting opinions,
primarily one by Nathan L. Hecht
alleging that the court majority's
members had disregarded legislative intent in favor of their
personal ideologies. Gonzales's opinion dealt mostly with how to
establish legislative intent. He wrote, "We take the words of the
statute as the surest guide to legislative intent. Once we discern
the Legislature's intent we must put it into effect, even if we
ourselves might have made different policy choices." He added,
"[T]o construe the Parental Notification Act so narrowly as to
eliminate bypasses, or to create hurdles that simply are not to be
found in the words of the statute, would be an unconscionable act
of judicial activism
" and "While
the ramifications of such a law and the results of the Court's
decision here may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is
my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this
state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the
commentators had suggested that Bush forecast the selection of
Gonzales with his comments defending the Attorney General made on
July 6, 2005 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Bush stated, "I don't like it when a friend
gets criticized. I'm loyal to my friends. All of a sudden this
fellow, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is
under fire. And so, do I like it? No, I don't like it, at all."
However, this speculation proved to be incorrect, as Bush nominated
Circuit Court of Appeals
to the Supreme Court.
After the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist
on September 3, 2005,
creating another vacancy, speculation resumed that President Bush
might nominate Gonzales to the
Court. This again proved to be incorrect, as Bush decided to
nominate Roberts to the Chief Justice position, and on October 3,
2005, nominated Harriet Miers
Associate Justice, to replace Justice O'Connor
. On October 27, 2005,
Miers withdrew her nomination, again renewing speculation about a
possible Gonzales nomination. This was laid to rest when Judge
received the nomination
and subsequent confirmation.
On September 11, 2005 U.S. Senate Committee on the
chairman Arlen Specter
was quoted as saying that it was "a little too soon" after
Gonzales's appointment as Attorney
for him to be appointed to another position, and that
such an appointment would require a new series of confirmation
Gonzales's leadership, the Justice
Department and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation have been accused of improperly, and perhaps
illegally, using the USA PATRIOT Act
to uncover personal information about U.S. citizens.
inability to explain his role and influence in the dismissal of U.S.
led several members of the United States Congress
major political parties to call for his resignation. Through his
testimony before Congress on issues ranging from the Patriot Act to
U.S. Attorney firings, he commonly admitted ignorance.For example,
in response to a Washington
article which stated that Gonzales was told about FBI
violations involving the Patriot Act, Justice officials "could not
immediately determine whether Gonzales read any of the FBI reports
in 2005 and 2006."
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys
December 7, 2006, seven United
States attorneys were notified by the United States Department
of Justice that they were being dismissed, after the George W. Bush administration
their resignation. One more, Bud
, who had been informed of his dismissal in June 2006,
announced his resignation on December 15, 2006 effective December
20, 2006 upon being notified of Tim
's appointment as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern
District of Arkansas.In the subsequent congressional hearings and
press reports, it was disclosed that additional U.S. attorneys were
dismissed without explanation to the dismissee in 2005 and 2006,
and that at least 26 U.S. attorneys were at various times
considered for dismissal.
Although U.S. attorneys can be dismissed at the discretion of the
president, critics claimed that the dismissals were either
motivated by desire to install attorneys more loyal to the
Republican party ("loyal Bushies", in the words of Kyle Sampson
, Gonzales’s former chief of staff)
or as retribution for actions or inactions damaging to the
Republican party. At least six of the eight had received positive
performance reviews at the Department of Justice. There were
various hearings and testimony offered in January through March.
Criticism increased upon the release of emails by Gonzales's chief
of staff Kyle Sampson
, which showed
extensive communication between Sampson and White House officials
. Sampson resigned, but
the emails indicate that a number of statements from the Department
of Justice, including those made by Gonzales himself, were
In a press conference on March 13, Gonzales suggested that
"incomplete information, was communicated or may have been
communicated to the Congress" and he accepted full responsibility.
Nonetheless, Gonzales avowed that his knowledge of the process to
fire and select new US attorneys was limited to how the US
attorneys may have been classified as "strong performers,
not-as-strong performers, and weakperformers." Gonzales also
asserted that was all he knew of the process, saying that "[I] was
not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any
discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew
as the Attorney General."
The record of the Justice Department released on March 23 appeared
to contradict Gonzales's assertions, indicating that on November 27
"he attended an hour-long meeting at which, aides said, he approved
a detailed plan for executing the purge." Despite insisting that he
was not involved in the "deliberations" leading up to the firing of
the attorneys, newly released emails also suggest that he had
indeed been notified and that he had given ultimate approval.
In a testimony to Congress on April 19, 2007, Gonzales insisted
that he was only indirectly involved and left the decisions to his
staff. However, ABC News
internal department email showing that Gonzales urged the ouster of
, one of the fired attorneys, six
months before she was asked to leave. During actual testimony on
April 19, Gonzales stated at least 71 times that he couldn't recall
events related to the controversy.
His response frustrated the Democrats on the committee, as well as
several Republicans. In a meeting in November 2006, Senator
of Alabama, one of the
most conservative members of the Senate, and a staunch ally of the
Bush administration, expressed his frustration. The firings were
purportedly discussed, but Gonzales did not remember such
discussion. As reported by the Washington Post, the dialogue went
GONZALES: Well, Senator, putting aside
the issue, of course, sometimes people's recollections are
different, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Battle's testimony [about
the November meeting].
SESSIONS: Well, I guess I'm concerned about your
recollection, really, because it's not that long ago. It was an
important issue. And that's troubling to me, I've got to tell
GONZALES: Senator, I went back and looked at my
calendar for that week. I traveled to Mexico for the inauguration
of the new president. We had National Meth Awareness Day. We were
working on a very complicated issue relating to CFIUS.
GONZALES: And so there were a lot of other weighty
issues and matters that I was dealing with that week.
Senator Chuck Schumer
of New York, who
had been the first lawmaker to call for Gonzales's ouster, declined
to ask his last round of questions. Instead, a visibly angry
Schumer said there was no point to further questioning since
Gonzales had stated "over a hundred times" that he didn't know or
couldn't recall important details concerning the firings, and also
didn't seem to know about the workings of his own department.
Gonzales responded that the onus was on the committee to prove
whether anything improper occurred. Schumer replied that Gonzales
faced a higher standard, and that under this standard he had to
give "a full, complete and convincing explanation" for why the
eight attorneys were fired.
In August 2009, White House documents released showed that Rove
raised concerns directly with Gonzales and that Domenici or an
intermediary may have contacted the Justice Department as early as
2005 to complain.
In contrast, Gonzales told the Senate
Judiciary Committee in 2007: "I don't recall . . . Senator Domenici
ever requesting that Mr. Iglesias be removed."
Controversy over the right to writ of habeas corpus in the U.S.
January 18, 2007, Gonzales was invited to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where
he shocked the committee's ranking member, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, with statements regarding the right of habeas corpus in the United States
An excerpt of the exchange follows:
GONZALES: The fact that the
Constitution—again, there is no express grant of habeas in the
Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But
it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme—
SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The
Constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of
rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of
habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or
Senator Specter was referring to
2nd Clause of Section 9 of Article One of the Constitution of the
which reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas
Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or
Invasion the public Safety may require it." This passage has been
historically interpreted to mean that the right of habeas corpus is
As Robert Parry writes in the Baltimore Chronicle &
NSA Domestic eavesdropping program
December 2005 article in The New
York Times, it was revealed that the National
Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without
This led to an investigation by the Office
of Professional Responsibility in the Justice Department. This
investigation was shut down after the President denied
investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.
Some critics have alleged that the President did so in order to
protect Gonzales from the internal probe.
According to May 15, 2007, testimony by the former deputy attorney
general, James B. Comey
to the Senate Judiciary Committee
reported in the New York Times)on the evening of March 10, 2004,
Mr. Gonzales and Andrew H.
(then Mr. Bush’s chief
of staff) tried to bypass him by visiting Mr. Ashcroft. The purpose
of this visit was to reauthorize the secret wiretapping program,
which Comey (as acting AG) had refused to reauthorize. (Mr.
Ashcroft was extremely ill and disoriented, Mr. Comey said, and his
wife had forbidden any visitors.)
Comey’s testimony laid out that "contrary to Gonzales's assertion,
there was significant dissent among top law enforcement officers
over a program Comey would not specifically identify." He added
that some "top Justice Department officials were prepared to resign
preview of his book "The Terror Presidency" to be published later
in September 2007, Jack Goldsmith,
the former head of the Office of
Legal Counsel at the Department
of Justice, corroborates many of the details of Comey's Senate
testimony regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital room visit of
Gonzales and Card on former Attorney General Ashcroft.
Jeffrey Rosen writes this in the September 9, 2007 issue of
The New York Times
of his extended interview with Goldsmith, who was
also in the hospital room that night:
As he recalled it to me, Goldsmith received a call in
the evening from his deputy, Philbin, telling him to go to the
George Washington University Hospital immediately, since Gonzales
and Card were on the way there. Goldsmith raced to the hospital,
double-parked outside and walked into a dark room. Ashcroft lay
with a bright light shining on him and tubes and wires coming out
of his body.
Suddenly, Gonzales and Card came in the room and announced that
they were there in connection with the classified program.
“Ashcroft, who looked like he was near death, sort of puffed up his
chest,” Goldsmith recalls. “All of a sudden, energy and color came
into his face, and he said that he didn’t appreciate them coming to
visit him under those circumstances, that he had concerns about the
matter they were asking about and that, in any event, he wasn’t the
attorney general at the moment; Jim Comey was. He actually gave a
two-minute speech, and I was sure at the end of it he was going to
die. It was the most amazing scene I’ve ever witnessed.”
After a bit of silence, Goldsmith told me, Gonzales thanked
Ashcroft, and he and Card walked out of the room. “At that moment,”
Goldsmith recalled, “Mrs. Ashcroft, who obviously couldn’t believe
what she saw happening to her sick husband, looked at Gonzales and
Card as they walked out of the room and stuck her tongue out at
them. She had no idea what we were discussing, but this
sweet-looking woman sticking out her tongue was the ultimate
expression of disapproval. It captured the feeling in the room
On Tuesday, July 24, Gonzales testified for almost four hours
before the Senate Judiciary
. He appeared to contradict the sworn account of
James B. Comey
regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital
room meeting with John
.Gonzales was confronted by Senator Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) who told him "That is not what Mr. Comey says; that is not
what the people in the room say." Gonzales responded "That's how we
The response to Gonzales's testimony by those Senators serving on
both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees was one of
disbelief. Russ Feingold
, who is a
member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said, “I
believe your testimony is misleading at best,” which Sheldon Whitehouse
—also a member of both
committees—concurred with, saying, “I have exactly the same
perception.” Chuck Schumer
Gonzales was "not being straightforward" with the committee.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick
said, “I just don’t trust you,” and urged Gonzales to
carefully review his testimony. The ranking Republican on the
Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter
said to Gonzales, “Your credibility has been breached to the point
of being actionable.” Leahy and Specter's comments were interpreted
as warnings that Gonzales might have been perjuring himself. After
the meeting, Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller
said Gonzales was being
"untruthful." Rockefeller's sentiments were echoed by Jane Harman
, a senior member of the House
Intelligence Committee, who accused Gonzales of "selectively
declassifying information to defend his own conduct."
On July 26, 2007, the Associated
obtained a four-page memorandum from the office of former
Director of National
Intelligence John D. Negroponte
dated May 17, 2006, which
contradicted Gonzales's testimony the previous day regarding the
subject of a March 10, 2004 emergency Congressional briefing which
preceded his hospital room meeting with former Attorney General
, James B. Comey
and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.
same day, Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S. Mueller III
also seemed to dispute the
accuracy of Gonzales's Senate
testimony of the previous day regarding the
events of March 10, 2004 in his own sworn testimony on that subject
before the House Judiciary
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
asked Mueller "Did you have an opportunity to talk to General
Ashcroft, or did he discuss what was discussed in the meeting with
Attorney General Gonzales and the chief of staff?" He replied "I
did have a brief discussion with Attorney General Ashcroft." Lee
went on to ask "I guess we use [the phrase] TSP [Terrorist
Surveillance Program], we use warrantless wiretapping. So would I
be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part
of the discussion?" He responded "It was—the discussion was on a
national—an NSA program that has been much discussed, yes."
On Thursday, August 16, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee
the heavily-redacted notes of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III regarding the Justice
Department and White
House deliberations of March, 2004 which included the
March 10, 2004 hospital-room visit of Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr.
on John Ashcroft in the presence
of then-acting Attorney General James
. The notes list 26
meetings and phone conversations over three weeks—from March 1 to
March 23—during a debate that reportedly almost led to mass
resignations at the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of
In July 26, 2007 a letter to Solicitor General
, Senators Charles Schumer
, Dianne Feinstein
, Russ Feingold
and Sheldon Whitehouse
urged that an
independent counsel be appointed to investigate whether Gonzales
had perjured himself in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee
previous day. "We ask that you immediately appoint an independent
special counsel from outside the Department of Justice to determine
whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or
perjured himself in testimony before Congress," the letter read in
Wednesday, June 27, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued
subpoenas to the United States Department of
Justice, the White House, and Vice President Dick Cheney seeking internal documents regarding
the program's legality and details of the NSA's cooperative
agreements with private telecommunications corporations.
addition to the subpoenas, committee chairman Patrick Leahy
sent Gonzales a letter about
possible false statements made under oath by U.S. Court of Appeals
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh
during his confirmation
hearings before the committee the previous year.In an August 17,
2007 reply letter to Leahy asking for an extension of the August 20
for compliance, White House counsel Fred Fielding argued that the subpoenas called for the production of "extraordinarily sensitive national security information," and he said much of the information—if not all—could be subject to a claim of executive privilege.
On August 20, 2007, Fielding wrote to Leahy that the White House needed yet more time to respond to the subpoenas, which prompted Leahy to reply that the Senate may consider a contempt of Congress citation when it returns from its August recess.
On July 27, 2007, both White
House Press Secretary Tony Snow
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino
defended Gonzales's Senate
testimony regarding the events of March 10,
2004, saying that it did not contradict the sworn House Judiciary Committee
of FBI director Robert S.
, because Gonzales
had been constrained in what he could say because there was a
danger he would divulge classified material. Lee Casey, a former
Justice Department lawyer during the Ronald Reagan
and George H. W. Bush
administrations, told the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
that it is likely that the apparent discrepancy can be traced to
the fact that there are two separate Domestic Surveillance
programs. "The program that was leaked in December 2005 is the
Comey program. It is not the program that was discussed in the
evening when they went to Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital
room. That program we know almost nothing about. We can speculate
about it. …The program about which he said there was no dispute is
a program that was created after the original program died, when
Mr. Comey refused to reauthorize it, in March 2004. Mr. Comey then
essentially redid the program to suit his legal concerns. And about
that program, there was no dispute. There was clearly a dispute
about the earlier form or version of the program. The attorney
general has not talked about that program. He refers to it as
"other intelligence activities" because it is, in fact, still
On Tuesday, August 28, 2007—one day after Gonzales announced his
resignation as Attorney General effective September 17—Senate Judiciary Committee
chairman Patrick Leahy
it would not affect ongoing investigations by his committee. “I
intend to get answers to these questions no matter how long it
takes,” Leahy said, suggesting that Gonzales could face subpoenas
from the committee for testimony or evidence long after leaving the
administration. “You’ll notice that we’ve had people subpoenaed
even though they’ve resigned from the White House,” Leahy said,
referring to Harriet E. Miers
, the former White House counsel, and
, who resigned this month as the
president’s top political aide. “They’re still under subpoena. They
still face contempt if they don’t appear.”
On Thursday, August 30, 2007, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine
disclosed in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee
as part of a previously ongoing investigation, his office is
looking into whether Gonzales made statements to Congress that were
“intentionally false, misleading, or inappropriate,” both about the
firing of federal prosecutors and about the terrorist-surveillance
program, as committee chairman Patrick Leahy had asked him to do in
an August 16, 2007 letter. Fine's letter to Leahy said that his
office “has ongoing investigations that relate to most of the
subjects addressed by the attorney general’s testimony that you
identified." Fine said that his office is conducting a particular
review “relating to the terrorist-surveillance program, as well as
a follow-up review of the use of national security letters
investigators use to obtain information on e-mail messages,
telephone calls and other records from private companies without
Texas Youth Commission
Alberto Gonzales, along with U.S. attorney Johnny Sutton
, has been accused of failing to
act despite strong allegations that teachers, administrators and
guards had sex with minor male inmates incarcerated in the Texas Youth Commission
Gonzales has had a long relationship with ex-president George W.
Bush. Gonzales served as a general counsel when Bush was the
governor of Texas. Such relationship made critics question whether
he would maintain independence in his administration of the U.S.
Department of Justice. Gonzales has been called Bush's "yes man
". Critics claim that he gave only the legal
advice Bush wanted and questioned Gonzales's ethics and
professional conduct.As a White House counsel, Gonzales signed a
controversial memorandum in January 2002 to the president which
argued that the Geneva Convention
proscriptions on torture do not apply to Taliban
prisoners, and that the limitations on the questioning of prisoners
were "obsolete" when it deals with terrorism.
Calls for resignation
A number of members of both houses of Congress publicly said
Gonzales should resign, or be fired by Bush. Calls for his ousting
intensified after his testimony on April 19, 2007.
On May 24, 2007, Senators Charles
(D-CA), and Sheldon
(D-RI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee
announced the Democrats' proposed no-confidence resolution
to vote on
whether "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the
confidence of the Senate and the American People."
(The vote would have had no legal effect, but was designed to persuade Gonzales to depart or President Bush to seek a new attorney general.) A similar resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
On June 11, 2007 a Senate vote on cloture
end debate on the resolution failed (60 votes are required for
cloture). The vote was 53 to 38 with 7 not voting and 1 voting
"present" (one senate seat was vacant). Seven Republicans, John E. Sununu
, Susan Collins
, Olympia Snowe
, Gordon Smith
and Norm Coleman
voted to end debate; Independent
Democrat Joseph Lieberman
against ending debate. No Democrat voted against the motion. Not
voting: Biden (D-DE), Brownback (R-KS), Coburn (R-OK), Dodd (D-CT),
Johnson (D-SD), McCain (R-AZ), Obama (D-IL). Stevens (R-AK) voted
of Missouri law professor Frank Bowman
has observed that Congress has the power to impeach Gonzales if he willfully lied or
withheld information from Congress during his testimony about the
dismissal of U.S.
Attorneys.Congress has impeached a sitting
Cabinet member before; William W.
, Ulysses S. Grant
's Secretary of War
impeached in a unanimous vote by the House in 1876 for bribery, but
the Senate fell just short of the votes necessary to convict him.
Belknap had resigned before the House vote, and several Senators
who voted to acquit him said they did so only because they felt the
Senate lacked jurisdiction.
On July 30, 2007, MSNBC
reported that Rep.
announced that he would
introduce a bill the following day that would require the House
Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation against
Partial list of Members of Congress calling for
Democrats calling for departure:
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader: "It's
foolishness if (President Bush) hangs on to him"
- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY),
Vice-Chairman of Senate Democratic Conference, chairman of the
Senatorial Campaign Committee and member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee: "doesn't accept or doesn't understand that he is no
longer just the president's lawyer," "carrying out the political
wishes of the President" (first member of either chamber to call
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT),
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee: "I don't think he can be effective"
- Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), member of the
Judiciary Committee: "I think we'd be better off if he did
(resign), but that's a judgment the president is going to have to
- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA):
"perplexed by the attorney general's testimony," "he has served as
the president's lawyer, not our nation's"
- Sen. Hillary Rodham
Clinton (D-NY): "buck should stop somewhere"
- Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT): "egregious
lapses in judgment"
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee: "I believe he should step down. ... the nation is
not well served by this"
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), member of
the Senate Judiciary
Committee: "his resignation is long overdue"
- Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): "there must
be accountability from the top down"
- Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR):
"serious breach between the Justice Department and Congress"
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL): "lost his
- Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL):
"subverted justice to promote a political agenda"
- Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR): "when the
Attorney General lies to a United States Senator … it's time for
that Attorney General to go"
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
(D-RI), member of the Senate Judiciary
Committee: "he had a hard sell to make to me, and he didn't
- Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO): "I believe
it is in the best interest of our Nation for the Department of
Justice to get a fresh start with a new Attorney General."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of
the House of Representatives:"has lost the trust of the
- Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV):
"shredded his credibility"
- Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA): "has not
- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), member of
the House Judiciary
Committee: told Gonzales in House testimony that it "makes me
ill to see what has happened" to the Justice Department, and that
"I don't think you're the one to fix it"
Republicans calling for Gonzales to leave:
- Sen. John E. Sununu (R-NH), first Republican to call for
ouster: "If I were the president, I would fire the attorney
- Sen. Gordon Smith
(R-OR): ouster "would be helpful"
- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), member of the
Judiciary Committee: told Gonzales at hearing that "the best
way to put this behind us is your resignation"; had earlier
described affair as "idiocy"
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "very
disappointed in his performance", "it would be best for Gonzales to
- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), member
of Senate Judiciary
Committee: "If he and the President decide that he cannot be an
effective leader moving forward, then he should resign."
- Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN): "deeply
- Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), ranking
Republican on Senate Judiciary
Committee: called failure to step down "bad for the Justice
- Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): "lost the
moral authority to lead"
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
"the president should have an attorney general who is less a
personal friend and more professional in his approach"
- Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-OH):
- Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI): "he's hurt
the President by what he's doing … he's damaged himself and the
- Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV): "egregiously
mishandled," "we need to restore confidence"
- Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV): "it's
become a distraction"
- Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE): "I trusted him
before, but I can't now"
- Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), House Republican Conference
Chairman, 1st top House Republican to call for ouster: "time
for fresh leadership"
In addition, several Republicans were critical of Gonzales,
without calling for his resignation or firing:
Republican Senators Trent Lott and
Orrin Hatch expressed support for
Gonzales, although Hatch conceded that Gonzales had
Those calling for Gonzales's resignation included Presidential
contenders from both parties:
Republican Senator McCain
Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill
Richardson and Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, and
Gonzales submitted his resignation as Attorney General effective
September 17, 2007, by a letter addressed to President Bush on
August 26, 2007. In a statement on August 27, Gonzales thanked the
President for the opportunity to be of service to his country,
giving no indication of either the reasons for his resignation or
his future plans. Later that day, President Bush praised Gonzales
for his service, reciting the numerous positions in Texas
government, and later, the government of the United States, to
which Bush had appointed Gonzales. Bush attributed the resignation
to Gonzales's name having been "dragged through the mud" for
"political reasons". Senators Schumer (D-NY), Feinstein (D-CA) and
Specter (R-PA) replied that the resignation was entirely
attributable to the excessive politicization of the Attorney
General's office by Gonzales, whose credibility with Congress, they
asserted, was nonexistent.
On September 17, 2007, President Bush announced the nomination of
ex-Judge Michael B. Mukasey
to serve as Gonzales's successor.
Bush also announced a revised appointment for acting Attorney
General: Paul Clement
served for 24
hours and returned to his position as Solicitor General
the departing Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division,
was persuaded to stay
on, and was appointed acting Attorney General effective September
Soon after departure from the DOJ in September 2007, continuing
inquiries by Congress and the Justice Department led Gonzales to
hire a criminal-defense lawyer George J. Terwilliger III
, partner at
White & Case
, and former deputy
attorney general under former president G.H.W. Bush
Terwiliger was on the Republican law team involved in Florida
presidential election recount battle of 2000.
On October 19, 2007, John
, the former
Attorney for Washington's Western District
, told The Spokesman-Review
Inspector General Glenn A.
may recommend criminal charges
On November 15, 2007, The Washington
reported that supporters of Gonzales had created a trust
fund to help pay for his legal expenses, which were mounting as the
Justice Department Inspector General's office continued to
investigate whether Gonzales committed perjury or improperly
tampered with a congressional witness.
On September 2, 2008, the Inspector General found that Gonzales had
stored classified documents in an insecure fashion, at his home and
insufficiently secure safes at work. Some members of Congress
criticized Gonzales for selectively declassifying some of this
information for political purposes. The Justice Department declined
to press criminal charges.
On 13 April 2008, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, writing for the
New York Times,
reported that Gonzales had been
unsuccessful in his efforts to find a job with a law firm. It was
seen as extraordinary that a former Attorney General had not been
welcomed into a firm, and law firm sources indicated that
Gonzales's reputation had been diminished by his role in the
dismissal of federal prosecutors, and by the open criticism he had
received from Senators and Representatives while testifying about
the dismissal of U.S. attorneys and the rights enumerated in the
Constitution, and during his testimony about a secret eavesdropping
Ongoing investigations by the Office of the
Inspector General of the Department of Justice
concluded at this date. His income since he left office on
September 17, 2007, has come from speaking engagements.
such as Washington University in St.
Louis, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida, who have each paid him about $30,000 plus expenses
for appearances; business groups are being charged a little
Gonzales gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal
December 31, 2008 in which he discussed the effect that
controversies in his Bush Administration roles had had on his
career and public perception. He stated:
For some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil
in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider
myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on
The New York Daily
published an editorial in response to this quote,
calling him "Gonzo the Clown" and "delusional and offensive ... in
explaining why he believes he is held in such low regard these
He stated an intention to write a book about his roles, with the
intention of publishing the book "for my sons, so at least they
know the story." No publishing company had agreed to promote the
book at the time of the interview.
- Texas Tech University
On July 7, 2009, Texas Tech
confirmed that it had hired Gonzales.
as the diversity recruiter for both Texas Tech
University and Angelo State University.
Additionally, at Texas Tech, he teaches a
political science "special topics" course dealing with contemporary
issues in the executive branch. He began the new job on August 1,
2009. After the announcement, a number of professors at Texas Tech
signed a petition opposing the hiring.
Grand jury indictment
Gonzales was charged by a grand jury in Willacy County in Texas. He
was accused of stopping an investigation into abuses at a federal
detention center. Vice president Dick
and other elected officials were also indicted. All
charges were dropped after further investigation.
On March 28, 2009, a Spanish court, headed by Baltasar Garzón
, the judge who ordered
the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
, announced it would begin
an investigation into whether or not Gonzales, and five other
former Bush Justice and Defense officials violated international
law by providing the Bush Administration a legal framework and
basis for the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Garzón said
that it was "highly probable" the matter would go to court and that
arrest warrants would be issued. Also named in the Spanish court's
investigation are John Yoo
, Douglas Feith
, and David Addington
Texas Supreme Court opinions
This is a list of opinions in which Alberto Gonzales wrote the
majority court opinion, wrote a concurring opinion, or wrote a
dissent. Cases in which he joined in an opinion written by another
justice are not included. A justice "writes" an opinion if the
justice has primary responsibility for the opinion. Justices are
assisted by a law clerk
who may play an
important role in the actual analysis of legal issues and drafting
of the opinion. The Texas Supreme Court issued 84 opinions during
Gonzales's tenure on the court, according to LexisNexis
- Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation
Systems, 996 S.W.2d 864 (Tex. 1999).
- Texas Farmers Insurance Company v. Murphy,
996 S.W.2d 873 (Tex. 1999).
- Mid-Century Insurance Company v. Kidd, 997
S.W.2d 265 (Tex. 1999).
- General Motors Corporation v. Sanchez, 997
S.W.2d 584 (Tex. 1999).
- In re Missouri Pac. R.R. Co., 998
S.W.2d 212 (Tex. 1999).
- Mallios v. Baker, 11 S.W.3d 157 (Tex.
- Gulf Insurance Company v. Burns Motors, 22
S.W.3d 417 (Tex. 2000).
- Southwestern Refining Co. v. Bernal, 22
S.W.3d 425 (Tex. 2000).
- Golden Eagle Archery, Inc. v. Jackson, 24
S.W.3d 362 (Tex. 2000).
- City of Fort Worth v. Zimlich, 29 S.W.3d 62
- Prudential Insurance Company of America v.
Financial Review Services, Inc., 29 S.W.3d 74 (Tex.
- Texas Department of Transportation v. Able,
35 S.W.3d 608 (Tex. 2000).
- Pustejovsky v. Rapid-American Corp., 35
S.W.3d 643 (Tex. 2000).
- John G. & Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial
Foundation v. Dewhurst, 44 Tex. Sup. J. 268 (2000),
- In re Dallas Morning News, 10 S.W.3d 298 (Tex.
- Osterberg v. Peca, 12 S.W.3d 31 (Tex.
- In re Jane Doe 3, 19 S.W.3d 300 (Tex. 2000).
- In re Doe, 19 S.W.3d 346 (Tex. 2000). (This case is
popularly referred to as "In re Jane Doe 5".)
- Grapevine Excavation, Inc. v. Maryland
Lloyds, 35 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. 2000).
Partial dissent, partial concurrence
- Lopez v. Munoz, Hockema, & Reed, 22
S.W.3d 857 (Tex. 2000).
- , The Smoking Gun.
- Mayer, Jane,
"The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the
War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals", 2008. p.
- Universal jurisdiction * * * *
- Q & A from Committee for Bud Cummins (no
date). United States House Committee on the Judiciary
Retrieved May 18, 2007. (Written responses by Bud Cummins to
committee interrogatories, post-hearing.)
- See Dismissal of U.S.
attorneys controversy for full details.
- YouTube - Schumer 4
- via commondreams.org
- January 18, 2007 letter from the DOJ's Richard
Hertling, see question 171
- [Link out-of-date.]
- Teen sex scandal ignored by AG, others for 2
- Roll call, 110th congress, 1st Session, Senate vote
number 207, June 11, 2007, 05:55 PM On the Cloture Motion
(Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to the
Consideration of S.J.Res.14.) United States Senate. Retrieved June
- March 11: Schumer calls on Gonzales to resign - The
- Calling for Gonzales' Resignation - Common
- Hillary Clinton calls for Gonzales' resignation
March 13, 2007
- Presidential Hopefuls Speak Up on Prosecutor
- Kennedy: Resignation is long overdue
- Kerry calls on Bush to fire Attorney
- Lincoln and Pryor call for Gonzales'
- Gonzales not convincing. (April 19, 2007).
National Public Radio. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
- Gonzales must resign. (April 20, 2007). Press
Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. United States House of
Representatives. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
- Schemo, D.J. (April 23, 2007). Gonzales 'bad for Justice Department,' Specter says.
Deseret Morning News (UT). Retrieved on August 28,
- Strategist Says Gonzales Is "Finished." (March
15, 2007). CBS News. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
- Congressman Paul Gillmor (blog). In B. Roode (March 23, 2007).
joins in calls for Gonzales to go. Sandusky Register
(OH). Retrieved on August 28, 2007.
- White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself before
panel April 23, 2007
- Bogden out for 'wrong reasons': Justice Department
called incompetent March 22, 2007
- Republican support for Gonzales erodes - Politics -
- Gonzales Fall For Attorney Firings? March 16,
- Gonzales rejects calls for resignation March
- SR.com: Gonzales could be prosecuted, McKay
- Report: Ex-AG Gonzales Mishandled Classified
Info by Nina Totenberg. All Things Considered, National Public
Radio. September 2, 2008.
- Wall Street Journal (2008).
Alberto Gonzales: Interview Excerpts. Retrieved
January 1, 2009.
- The Texas Supreme Court granted rehearing and reversed its own
judgment, in an opinion written by Justice Hecht. 90 S.W.3d 268
- "Torture and Gonzales: An Exchange" from The New York Review of
- Gonzales Grilled Over Drowning Torture
- Support of Torture Not Gonzales's Greatest
- Transcript of Gonzales's Press Conference,
March 13, 2007, relating to the Dismissal of U.S.
- Bush defends Gonzales's role in US Attorney
firings , Breaking Legal news, April 1, 2007
- Dangerous precedents, The Standard, Thursday, April 19,
- McArthur High School Yearbook 1968