Live and Learn: Depoliticizing the Interim Appointments of U.S. Attorneys

40 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2007


The recent firings of eight U.S. Attorneys have raised serious questions regarding the politicization of the Department of Justice. This politicization was fueled, in part, by a change in the appointment procedure for interim U.S. Attorneys. The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 shifted the power to make long-term interim appointments from the Chief Judges of federal districts to the Attorney General. If retained, this provision would have allowed the Attorney General to appoint interim appointees indefinitely and to bypass Senate scrutiny of replacement U.S. Attorneys in formal confirmation hearings. Although the changed procedure was short-lived, it highlighted the importance of having a fair process to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys - a procedure that provides the Senate and public an opportunity to see why U.S. Attorneys are being replaced and to safeguard against Administration attempts to manipulate particular investigations and prosecutions.

Suggested Citation

Levenson, Laurie L., Live and Learn: Depoliticizing the Interim Appointments of U.S. Attorneys. Seattle University Law Review, Forthcoming, Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2007-44, Available at SSRN:

Laurie L. Levenson (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
(213) 736-1149 (Phone)
(213) 380-3769 (Fax)

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