Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Legal attorneys

In a heartening show of bipartisanship the U. S. House of Representatives voted Monday to repeal a phantom clause in the USA Patriot Act that allowed the president to appoint U.S. attorneys indefinitely without their being reviewed by the Senate if he made the appointments while the Senate was in recess.

That means that the eastern district of Arkansas should shortly get a fully credentialed federal prosecutor and Timothy Griffin can return to his private law practice or to the White House Office of Political Affairs or to the national party’s opposition-research office, to name three of his prior incarnations.

No Democrats and only 78 Republicans voted against the measure, which returns the prosecutor law to its historical condition. Each one must be confirmed and the law will limit the emergency prosecutors that President Bush appointed in December to three months unless they agree to be questioned and confirmed by the Senate. Griffin has said he will not submit to questioning about his past work for the party. U. S. Rep. John Boozman, the lone Republican in the Arkansas congressional delegation, has a list of three stalwart Republicans to submit to the president. All three — state Rep. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, Jason Hendren of Little Rock and Betty Dickey of Pine Bluff — are worthy.

If our opinion mattered to the White House, which it does not, the president would appoint Dickey, a former state Supreme Court justice, prosecuting attorney and counsel for several years to Gov. Mike Huckabee. Her character is superb and her credentials just about perfect. She ran for attorney general in 1998 against Mark Pryor, who would need to confirm her, but our guess is that he would not hesitate. It would not bring back Bud Cummins, who was fired to create a sinecure for Griffin, but the president could go a long way toward rectifying the terrible mess created by the firing and the Griffin subterfuge.
— Ernie Dumas