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Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Controversy

No matter what school may teach, honesty is something that could be abused or even betrayed by ones friends, coworkers, and even various people involved in politics. Sometimes when people get appointed at such a high level within a government and presented with such fame, the power could go to their heads causing them to make decisions that could not only be irrational but also easily avoidable bonehead moves. In one particular scenario, there was a time when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales misused his power to his advantage. The Senate had reauthorized a law where it permitted the Attorney General to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys without a term limit in office, and avoid a confirmation vote. The change gave the Attorney General greater recruiting or hiring powers than the President, in terms of hiring attorneys for the states. Since the Presidents’ U.S. Attorney appointees are required to be confirmed to work in office by the Senate. By April 2007, there was some speculation that the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys might affect cases of public corruption and voter fraud.

First, generally speaking, there was a large amount of people involved in this matter. However, the center point is around Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “Gonzales was born on Aug. 4, 1955, in San Antonio, Texas, and his parents were Mexican immigrants” (Holscher). “Gonzales served in the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1975 and studied at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1975 to 1977. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice University in 1979 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1982. After graduation, he joined a law firm in Houston” (Holscher). He is a hard worker nonetheless; he will continue to strive for success throughout his entire life. Furthermore continuing with Gonzales, he “remained with the Houston firm, specializing in corporate law, until 1995. That year, Bush, then governor of Texas, selected Gonzales to be his general counsel-that is, chief legal adviser. Gonzales served in that position until 1997, when he became Texas’s secretary of state” (Holscher). This alone is a very remarkable achievement for anyone; he is on his way to something bigger, according to the trend of his rise in his career rankings. However, just like when everyone becomes a politician during some point of his or her life if they do make that choice, people will always try to find out info about them to find out if they were involved in any wrongdoings. “In 2001, after Bush had been elected president of the United States, Gonzales left the court to become counsel to the president. He remained in that position until Bush named him to the Cabinet in 2005…” (Holscher). He became the 80th United States Attorney General. In addition to that, he was also “the first Hispanic American to hold the office” (Holscher). However, here on out a series of events would begin to unfold to be controversial for Mr. Gonzales. One of the people affected by the actions of Alberto Gonzales is Michael A. Battle. “Mr. Battle has held several distinguished public service posts, including serving as director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, where he oversaw all 93 U.S. Attorneys and acted as a liaison with other federal agencies” (“Michael A. Battle”). He is one who is very well involved with law, and in doing so someone typically wants to have an open-minded mentality with no judgmental bias when dealing with particular cases or scenarios. Mr. Battle was a U.S. Attorney he “…sat on the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and White Collar Fraud, and helped create a U.S. task force to prosecute fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina” (“Michael A. Battle”). During his several years of service, he is/was definitely an asset for the American people. However, in relation to this mess of a situation he was the one who informed the seven attorneys of their initial dismissal on the date December 7, 2006. That was his main part during this whole thing. Whether the firings were with good reason, one would think he would question whether it was ethical to just release those people from their jobs all on the same day, even when there was mild speculation regarding if it was all for political reasons? Given if someone has a job/career and a boss tells them to do something they would typically do it, in this scenario someone would have at least given some thought on if it was okay or not. Alas, Michael Battle did what he had to do. The seven attorneys released that day include David Iglesias, Kevin V. Ryan, John McKay, Paul K. Charlton, Carol Lam, Daniel Bogden, and finally Margaret Chiara. Each one of these people played a part, minor rather, in this scandal. First, David Iglesias was initially recruited over the summer of 2001 by former President George W. Bush, in which he served as an attorney for the U.S. for the district of New Mexico. However just like several of his colleagues he was fired in 2006, describing the matter as a performance related issue. It was speculated of course that that was not the case whatsoever. Next is Kevin V. Ryan, another person related to the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys. He was the former attorney for the northern part of California. He was confirmed of his position by nomination of again, George W. Bush in 2002; he announced his resignation in early 2007. He was actually fired leading to his resignation for the same reason of “poor performance” and how it could be a problem in various ways including how it would be a public relations issue. John McKay, former attorney for the western part of Washington State, comes from a well-known background of being a republican. Of course, just as if everyone else was given the description of his dismissal/resignation to be performance related, worried about his leadership and how he managed priorities. Paul K. Charlton was until his release in 2006, a U.S. attorney for the state of Arizona but now serves as a partner at a law firm in Phoenix Arizona called, Steptoe & Johnson. The disclosure of his release is also regarding how poor his performance was while he was serving as a U.S. attorney. Next is Carol Lam, and she was the southern U.S. attorney for the district of California. However, her good service in terms of her job still caused accusations of corruption and poor work related moves, or performance. Thus ultimately leading to her resignation from her duties. Daniel Bogden was another victim of these sudden firings in 2006; his services were for the state of Nevada as well. He is a republican, thus leading to speculation for his, among other people, dismissal of their position at the time. However, President Barack Obama offered him a position in 2009. Lastly, Margaret Chiara, former and first female attorney for the state of Michigan. She was told that she was going to be removed and havea successor take her spot. She was quoted saying, “To say it was about politics may not be pleasant, but at least it is truthful…” and went on to say that poor performance was not truthful nor possible as an explanation on her firing.

Many of the facts of the scandal are repetitive and recurring on how the attorneys were fired, the most common is the disconnect between the actual truth on how and why they were all released. All of them just so happen to be performance related when really it seemed to be, as the scandal broke out and was much more widely inspected by others, to be for political reasons for why they were fired. It being on the date of December 7, “…in an episode that some of its victims have already taken to calling the ‘Pearl Harbor Day Massacre’” (Zagorin). It was said that when the attorneys were hired that they “…can be replaced, at least theoretically, at any time for any reason” (Zagorin). However what can be called into question is the ethics on why they were all truly fired, given the situation there is not any doubt that there could be some sort of wrongdoing. Of course Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is the main pinpoint of the whole controversy, as it turns out in a twist it seems that it is him that has performance related issues in his work as well, except his in this case he had actual issues. Every one of the U.S. attorney’s seemed to have a hunch that all of the allegations that were being thrown at Gonzales’ direction were going to be true, and that one day the truth will come out.

Finally, as a result Gonzales’ ethics came into play. In addition to that, “It was also unclear how directly involved Gonzales and the White House were in the decision” (“Gonzales, Alberto R.”). He actually had quite some history with his controversial career that he has had, dating even to the start of the Bush administration in 2001. He “…was a somewhat controversial figure for having provided legal justification while White House counsel… for the brutal treatment of prisoners and detainees held during the U.S. battle against terrorism” (“Gonzales, Alberto R.”). He subsequently resigned during the year of 2007 from his position as U.S. attorney general. “Following his resignation as attorney general in 2007, Gonzales worked as a consultant and public speaker. In 2009, Texas Tech University hired Gonzales as a recruiter and instructor” (Holscher). His former chief of staff Kyle Sampson did not help Gonzales much either. Even was said to say, “The decision-makers in this case were the attorney general and counsel to the president” (Akron Beacon Journal). This is a direct blow at the attorney general depicting his direct general involvement in the matter while at the same time this increased the concern of a growing scandal.

In conclusion, to all of this, the scandal of the U.S. attorneys being fired for political reason proved to be a diminishing setback on former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ career. It is safe to say that the lives of the people he had effected/been involved with his actions and changed their way of life. In the end, any negativity is eventually resolved and this can pertain in real life. Time help in the general healing of issues with people, groups, or even the U.S. government.

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