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Sunday, November 14, 2004

The 'Hole of the Law 

Gonzalez replaces Ashcroft as Attorney General. But -- since Aleister Crowley has joined his ancestors, and is therefore unavailable to draft Mr. Bush's legal findings -- who replaces Gonzales as White House Counsel? According to the NYT, the smart money is on Brett M. Kavanaugh:
"The president thinks he's great," said one Republican familiar with the White House operations. "He trusts him and really likes having him around to rely on."
Upon reading the above our esteemed colleagues at No More Mister Nice Blog immediately wondered what sort of belly-crawling reptile could possibly win such a glowing endorsement from God's Choice to Lead Us. They found the answer in a Dana Milbank WaPo profile from 2002:
The legal fight after Vincent Foster's suicide? Kavanaugh led it.

The Starr report on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Kavanaugh co-wrote it.

President Bush's order limiting the release of presidential papers? Kavanaugh drafted it.

The probe of Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich? Kavanaugh was in the thick of it.

The hotly contested judicial nominations of Priscilla Owens and Miguel Estrada? Kavanaugh coordinated them.

Indeed, for the past eight years, Kavanaugh, 37, has had a hand in virtually every high-profile legal battle involving presidential power. But for Bethesda native Kavanaugh, there's an intriguing twist: As a lawyer working for Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater investigation, he was devoted to restricting the powers of the president. Now, as a lawyer in the Bush White House, he is devoted to expanding the chief executive's powers.

Within a few years, Kavanaugh's work has gone from being described as "a serious blow to the presidency," as Clinton lawyer Lloyd Cutler put it, to promoting an "imperial presidency," as Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) put it.

The political opposition sees rank hypocrisy. "Kavanaugh, who once defended Starr's insatiable appetite for information on presidential doings as being not about politics but about the sanctity of the law, has apparently changed his tune," according to the liberal Nation magazine. "The ironies abound." A cynical view of Kavanaugh's actions would be that he bases his legal reasoning on his conservative views -- that he supports broad powers for a Republican president and circumscribed powers for a Democratic president. A more charitable explanation is that Kavanaugh is merely a good lawyer, forcefully representing the best interests of his client at the moment. Asked about Kavanaugh's ideology, Craig Lerner, a former colleague from the Whitewater investigation, replied: "He's a terrific lawyer."
Four more years!

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