Orrin Hatch Our Next Attorney General?

Tim Russert asked Sen. Orrin Hatch on yesterday’s “Meet the Press” whether he’d be interested in the AG’s job:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Hatch, let me ask you a simple question, however. If, in fact, the president decides that Mr. Gonzales should step down, what…

SEN. HATCH: Oh, well, that’s the president’s decision.

MR. RUSSERT: Right. And the president came to you and asked you to be the next attorney general, would you do that?

SEN. HATCH: Well, he’s not going to come to me. But the fact is that…

MR. RUSSERT: Yeah, but if he—if he did, saying you’re easily confirmable by the Senate as a member of that club, a Republican governor in Utah could replace your successor. “Orrin Hatch, we need you to do this.” Would you do it?

SEN. HATCH: Well, I’ve irritated the chairman of the committee just this morning. It’d be really tough for me to get confirmed, I’m sure. But the fact is, of course, anybody would serve this country. I would serve this country any way I could. But, but they’re not going to pick me. But the point is, you know, it’s up to the president.

The chairman in question, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), had a slightly different take:

MR. RUSSERT: Would Senator Hatch be an acceptable replacement to Mr. Gonzales?

SEN. LEAHY: Well, I, I—the rumor on, on the Hill this week was he was actively running for it, but, you know, I’m going to have to leave…

I can’t imagine why a Senator of Hatch’s stature would be interested in giving up his seat for a 21 month gig as Attorney General. Nor, frankly, do I see why appointing someone so well known for his partisanship to the job would solve the problem of the appearance that the DOJ is too partisan.

via Political Wire

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    OTOH, consider how *desperate* Bush has to be for an AG — someone with enough stature (real or imaginary) to conceal his essential flackiness, but *not* someone who would actually do the job. Because someone actively committed to the rule of law is the *last* thing Bush or Cheney wants right now.

  2. Perhaps Hatch feels the next big impact on IP law can be made as AG.