Who will be Gonzales' successor? Insiders speculate
The abrupt departure of Alberto Gonzales from his post atop the Justice Department has led many to speculate who President George W. Bush will choose to succeed his Texas confidant.
According to NBC's Chuck Todd and Mark Murray, the list of candidates who would be acceptable to both Bush and his Senate critics -- who must confirm the nomination -- is short.
A source close to the White House mentions that ex-Deputy Attorney General George J. Terwilliger III is "looking very good." Terwilliger, who headed Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount, led the Justice Department briefly in 1993 following the departure of Attorney General William Barr. He now practices law in Washington.
Former Solicitor General Ted Olson and former appellate judge Laurence Silberman are "also in the running." Olson was in charge of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel as assistant attorney general from 1981 to 1984. He represented Bush in front of the Supreme Court in the case Bush v Gore, which ultimately decided the 2000 election.
Silberman served as Deputy Attorney General from 1974 to 1975. During his tenure, he was forced to read J. Edgar Hoover's secret files, which he describes in the Wall Street Journal as "the single worst experience of my long governmental service."
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who was first rumored to be a frontrunner for the posistion, appears to be an 'unlikely' choice, according to NBC. Chertoff was already confirmed by the Senate to serve in his current job, as well as in an earlier position as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division.
Solicitor General Paul Clement will take over the Justice Department on an acting basis when Gonzales leaves on September 17.
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