For a man who no one seriously believes should be Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales seems to be acquiring more power, not less. Two weeks ago, under the administration’s FISA “fix,” the AG’s office obtained new auditing authority over warrantless surveillance. This week, the AG’s office is poised to get the authority to “fast track” death penalty appeals.
The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.
Even if the Attorney General weren’t an honesty-challenge incompetent, this would be a bad idea. But with Gonzales as the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer, it’s a ridiculously bad idea.