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Making a mockery of U.S. justice

March 16, 2007

Re "Gonzales gets rare rebuke from Bush," March 15

Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales has spent the last six years successfully expanding presidential authority into such dangerous new territories as torture, wiretapping and imprisonment without charges. It is wonderfully ironic that he may finally fall for his part in the mishandled exercising of an extreme but clear and preexisting use of executive power. As I understand it, presidents can fire appointees whenever they want.

ERIC COOK

Redondo Beach

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Re "E-mails detail goals in firing U.S. attorneys," March 14

Here's what we know so far: The administration decided that U.S. attorneys who "have produced, managed well and exhibited loyalty to the president" would not be fired. On the other hand, those who had "chafed against Administration initiatives" would be fired. We also know who was fired: one who had sent a Republican congressman to jail and at least two who had refused to indict Democrats during crucial elections.

We also know who wasn't fired, including one who leaked facts about a Democratic senator being under investigation while he was running for reelection. What we don't know is what the other U.S. attorneys did to "exhibit [their] loyalty to the president" and avoid getting fired. This episode has made a mockery of the term "Department of Justice."

KATHI SMITH

Ojai

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Bush is "not happy" with the handling of fired U.S. attorneys. "Mistakes were made." Well of course he's not happy. They were caught -- again.

TALLY BRIGGS

Toluca Lake

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Re "Gonzales says 'mistakes were made,' " March 14

Gonzales is quoted as using the effete yet common political phrase "mistakes were made," implying that somehow, somewhere, someone had erred, unbeknownst to him. How refreshing it would be to hear an authoritative figure in Washington finally say, "I have made mistakes." Shall we all hold our breaths, waiting?

BILL ROBBINS

Los Angeles

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