11/11/2004

General Approval

President Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzales to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Gonzales has served as White House counsel since January 2001. He is a former Texas Supreme Court justice, appointed to that position by then-Gov. George W. Bush. He also served as Texas secretary of state. Before that, Gonzales worked as general counsel on Gov. Bush's staff.

Bush's nomination of Gonzales appears to be, at first glance, one of those rare confluences of good policy and good politics. On the "politics" side, Bush continues to strive for ethnic diversity in his cabinet. On the "policy" side, Gonzales is something of a moderate who recognized the boundary between his beliefs and the responsibilities of his office.

More conservative Republicans, however, have found some of Gonzales' relatively moderate votes on the Texas Supreme court troubling, including a majority vote not requiring some teenage girls to get parental permission for an abortion.

In his opinion on the ruling, Gonzales wrote, "While the ramifications of such a law may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the legislature."
Gonzales credentials as a moderate are not simply a product of the Republican spin machine. When he was named as Chief White House Counsel in 2001, Hispanic Magazine ran a piece on him called From Rags to Riches which pointed this out:
Evidence of Gonzales' moderate bent can be found in many of his decisions as a Texas Supreme Court justice. He voted with the majority to weaken a state law requiring minors to notify a parent before getting an abortion. He also wrote a landmark opinion that opened the door for some victims of illnesses caused by on-the-job exposure to asbestos to sue more than once over their injuries—a decision decried by some conservatives.
If further review of Gonzales' record reads as positively as his initial press does, it would seem that he's a good choice for the job.