If Senate Democrats are unwilling to consider their consitutional duty of advice and consent, there's no reason to submit yet another appointment for them to ignore.
A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records.
Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, for example, has been effectively absent from his job as U.S. attorney in Montana for nearly two years -- prompting the chief federal judge in Billings to demand his removal and call Mercer's office "a mess."
At the moment, at least six sitting U.S. attorneys, including Mercer..., also hold senior spots at Justice. Each prosecutor continues to draw a regular U.S. attorney's salary and is not paid extra for the executive position...
Mercer currently wears two hats as the U.S. attorney in Montana and as third-in-command at Justice, behind Gonzales and his deputy, Paul J. McNulty. Mercer has been pulling double duty since June 2005, when he was first appointed to a different executive position at Justice headquarters.
His regular absence from the U.S. attorney's office in Billings has caused severe friction between Mercer and U.S. District Chief Judge Donald W. Molloy, a Clinton appointee. Molloy wrote a letter to Gonzales in October 2005 demanding that Mercer be replaced.
[Department of Justice spokesman Brian] Roehrkasse said Mercer has "effectively served" in his simultaneous postings but that "Congress should move forward quickly to confirm his nomination, which has been pending for eight months." Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have indicated they will not proceed on the appointment until after the panel's probe of the U.S. attorney firings is completed.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Democrat Inaction Hurts Local Prosecutions
The Macaca Post reports: