Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Moderates Need Apply

The White House is closing in on a nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, with former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson considered one of the leading candidates, administration and Congressional officials said Tuesday.

Reports of Mr. Olson's candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department. Mr. Gonzales is departing after being repeatedly accused of allowing political loyalties to blind him to independently enforcing the law.

"Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn't appear on that list," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who led the Judiciary Committee effort to remove Mr. Gonzales. ...

Mr. Olson’s wife, Barbara K. Olson, a conservative television commentator, died aboard the hijacked airliner that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. Mr. Olson has since remarried.

Other candidates said to remain in contention include George J. Terwilliger III, a former deputy attorney general under Mr. Bush’s father.

Mr. Terwilliger, now in private practice, is said to be favored by influential lawyers in Bush legal circles, like William P. Barr, attorney general when Mr. Terwilliger was the No. 2 official at the Justice Department. But Mr. Terwilliger, who is from Vermont, may have detractors, including Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who leads the Judiciary Committee and is said to be cool to his appointment.

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