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Reply to " Bush Picks Alberto Gonzales to Replace Ashcroft at Justice Dept."

Al Gonzales was among the first named as those who would serve in the cabinet during George W. Bush's first term. As a Harvard graduate who has worked his way up through the legal ranks, he has been deeply involved with community activities and his professional peers. He has served as Director for Catholic Charities and Big Brothers and Sisters in Houston, Texas and has been honored for his efforts by various groups. Professionally he has been a law partner, General Counsel for George W. Bush during his first term as Governor, Secretary of State for Texas and Justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

He served at the side of President George W. Bush as White House Counsel, protecting the legal interests of the Office of the President.

Al Gonzales has been the highest hope for becoming the first Hispanic nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

After Bush's second term was confirmed, Attorney General Ashcroft resigned and Al Gonzales became the first Hispanic nominated for the position.

While his record has been impressive on behalf of the community and he has been endorsed by at least one major civil rights group, a larger issue may exist.

"In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
-Al Gonzales, January 25, 2002
DOJ Memo [PDF]

It's speculated that this type of legal thought led to higher ranks turning a blind eye to prison abused in Iraq. It's certain that this is the legal thought that repeatedly rescinds portions of the Geneva Convention whenever possible.

Hispanics frequently serve on the front lines disproportionately in war. The decision to lead the world in backing away from affording prisoners of war the rights under the Geneva Convention will have a direct impact when our soldiers our captured.

Furthermore, there are many cases where civilian rights are being drastically changed because of this logic. American citizen Jose Padilla has been detained since May of 2002. He was transferred to military custody and no trial is planned. He is being detained indefinitely. He is likely a criminal. He may even be a traitor. But the weak evidence should be tested in court. At least in America, and especially for Americans.

Meanwhile, John Walker Lindh, who was actually captured in the battlefields of Afghanistan received a quick trial and was sentenced to 20 years, less than some drug dealers.

Al Gonzales has a record of fighting for Hispanic interests and equality in general. But, equality in the workplace and public begin to have a diminished meaning when we have a better work environment, but now have to wonder how our enemy will treat us in the battlefields and whether or not our government will give us a trial if we are suspected of a crime.

We shouldn't have to choose between due process and a strong anti-discrimination candidate.

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Al Gonzales

* 1955 - Born August 4, in San Antonio, Texas. He was raised in Houston with 7 brothers and sisters.
* 1973-1975 - Served in the US Air Force.
* 1975-1977 - Attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
* 1979 - Recieved his B.A from Rice University in Houston, Texas
* 1982 - Juris doctor (law degree) from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
* 1982-1995 - Joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. as an associate -- eventually became partner.
* 1985-1991 - Director, Big Brothers and Sisters
* 1989-1993 - Director, Catholic Charities, Houston, Texas
* 1990-1991 - President, Houston Hispanic Bar Association
* 1990-1991 - President, Houston Hispanic Forum
* 1990 - Special Legal Counsel, Houston Host Committee, Summit of Industrialized Nations
* 1992 - Assistant Legal Counsel, Houston Host Committee, 1992 Republican National Convention
* 1991-1994 - Director, State Bar of Texas
* 1992-1993 - Chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Houston
* 1993-1994 - Director, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast
* 1993-1994 - President, Leadership Houston
* 1994 - Chair, Commission for District Decentralization of the Houston Independent School District
* 1995-1997 - General Counsel to Governor George W. Bush
* 1997-1999 - Secretary of State, State of Texas
* 1999-2000 - Justice, The Supreme Court of Texas
* 2000- - White House Counsel for George W. Bush
* 2004- - Nominated for Attorney General


* 1999 - Texas Leader, Leadership Houston
* 1999 - Latino Lawyer of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association
* 1999 - 100 Most Influential Hispanics, Hispanic Business Magazine
* 1997 - Presidential Citation, State Bar of Texas - for addressing the basic legal needs of the indigent
* 1994 - One of Five Outstanding Young Texans, Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce
* 1994 - One of Five Outstanding Young Houstonians, Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce
* 1993 - Commitment to Leadership Award, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast
* 1992 - Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas, Texas Young Lawyers Association
* 1992 - Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer, Houston Young Lawyers Association
* 1989 - Hispanic Salute, Houston Metro Ford Dealers and Ford Division, Ford Motor Company
* 1989 - President's Award, Houston Bar Association