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Politics and the Justice Department: Finding a Path to Accountability

The dismissals of eight United States attorneys have brought Attorney General Alberto Gonzales under intense scrutiny. As more details come to light, broader questions regarding the influence of presidential policy and partisan politics on the work at the Justice Department are being asked.

On April 20, the Brookings Institution continued its Judicial Issues Forum series with a discussion on lessons learned from the attorney general firings and other legal controversies. Panelists discussed the trial and conviction of former White House Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby; the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act; prosecution of voter fraud; and the replacement of all US attorneys by the Clinton Administration in 1993.

Panelists included two former Justice Department officials under President Clinton, Neal Katyal, professor of law at Georgetown University, and Robert Litt, partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. Additionally, Benjamin Wittes, Brookings guest scholar; George Terwilliger, former Deputy Attorney General under George H.W. Bush; and Timothy Flanigan, former deputy to then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, provided commentary.

Stuart Taylor, Jr., a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings and a writer for National Journal and Newsweek, moderated the panel.





Neal K. Katyal

Professor, Georgetown Law Center; Former National Security Advisor to the Deputy Attorney General (1998-1999)


Robert S. Litt

General Counsel - Office of the Director of National Intelligence

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