Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | 2:07 a.m.
The Justice Department under the administration of President George W. Bush was a place where employees were expected to adhere to conservative Republican philosophies or else be shown the door. This applied not only to political appointees but also to entry-level attorneys and interns.
This blatant partisanship in a department that should have been pursuing its law enforcement duties without playing favorites became one of many low points in the Bush administration and led to the disgraceful exit of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
One individual swept up in the undertow was Daniel Bogden, Nevada’s U.S. attorney, who was appointed by Bush in 2001 but fired in 2006. Bogden was one of nine U.S. attorneys who lost their jobs in rapid succession under Gonzales.
While it was widely assumed that Bogden and the others ran afoul of Bush administration policies for various reasons, neither Gonzales nor any of his cronies ever gave the public a legitimate reason why the Nevadan was forced from his post. The lack of accountability behind Bogden’s removal didn’t sit well with Nevadans.
That’s why a recommendation Monday from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that Bogden be reappointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. attorney’s post makes sense. Reid made that recommendation even though he said he has no problem with Nevada’s current U.S. attorney, Bush appointee Gregory Brower.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Reid said: “It was just not fair to have Bogden with this mark on him, this scarlet letter of being a bad U.S. attorney, because everybody acknowledges nothing was bad about him.”
Though presidents can fire U.S. attorneys as well as nominate them, this country should not tolerate a Justice Department that is turned into an ideological fiefdom.
By reappointing Bogden, who is now in private practice, Obama has an opportunity to correct one of the many wrongs that occurred in the department while Gonzales was at the helm.