Bush signed it yesterday, without fanfare and with no apparent signing statements.
This is HUGE.
What is S.214? It's the bill--now law--passed by both the house and senate earlier this year by overwhelming margins (306-114 in the House, 94-2 in the Senate), that repeals that provision snuck into the Patriot Act revision in 2005 by Arlen Spector's office in the middle of the night that gave the Attorney General the power to appoint permanent "interim" US Attorneys, bypassing the need to obtain Senate confirmation as per the previous process, and which Gonzo has exploited repeatedly to stack the Department of Justice with corrupt Bushies.
This new law restores the previous process, which gives each District Court the power to name interim USA's should the previous one resign or be dismissed, and the president doesn't nominate a replacement and/or the Senate confirms them within 120 days. It also gives congress the ability to dismiss any interim USA's named by the Attoney General, within 120 days of his having appointed them and/or this law's having been enacted.
In other words, 120 days from now, or mid-October, EVERY SINGLE US ATTORNEY named by Gonzo could be gone, forever, and replacement USA's put in place by each of their respective District Courts. Including, and especially, the DC USA (Jeffrey Taylor), who will be empowered and tasked with processing and enforcing any subpoenas issued by congress on the administration.
I'm surprised that this has gone mostly unreported and uncommented on. I suppose that it's not "sexy", but it's one of those crucial steps that needed to be taken on the path to holding this administration accountable for its crimes. Expect some big announcements pretty soon with respect to the replacement of current interim USA's, in DC and all the other districts whose USA's were appointed by Gonzo in order to game the federal justice system.
Here's is the bill--now law--itself:
Title: A bill to amend chapter 35 of title 28, United States Code, to preserve the independence of United States attorneys.
Sponsor: Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] (introduced 1/9/2007) Cosponsors (16)
Related Bills: H.R.580
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 110-34 [GPO: Text, PDF]
Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
One Hundred Tenth Congress of the United States of America
AT THE FIRST SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday, the fourth day of January, two thousand and seven
An Act To amend chapter 35 of title 28, United States Code, to preserve the independence of United States attorneys.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007'.
SEC. 2. VACANCIES.
Section 546 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:
`(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the earlier of--
`(1) the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title; or
`(2) the expiration of 120 days after appointment by the Attorney General under this section.
`(d) If an appointment expires under subsection (c)(2), the district court for such district may appoint a United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.'.
SEC. 3. APPLICABILITY.
(a) In General- The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
(1) IN GENERAL- Any person serving as a United States attorney on the day before the date of enactment of this Act who was appointed under section 546 of title 28, United States Code, may serve until the earlier of--
(A) the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of that title; or
(B) 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
(2) EXPIRED APPOINTMENTS- If an appointment expires under paragraph (1), the district court for that district may appoint a United States attorney for that district under section 546(d) of title 28, United States Code, as added by this Act.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.
Here is the White House's brief statement on this:
On June 14, 2007, the President signed into law:
S. 214, the "Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007."
And here is a Raw Story article on this:
Bush signs bill to preserve US Attorneys' 'independence'
Published: Friday June 15, 2007
Late on Thursday, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007." The bill, which was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), removed a controversial provision at the heart of the current US Attorneys controversy that allowed the Attorney General to appoint US Attorneys on an interim basis for an indefinite period of time. Critics said the measure allowed the Justice Department to do an 'end-run' around Senate confirmation of controversial picks for the powerful prosecutor posts.
But a Senate Democratic staffer made clear on Thursday that any indefinite, interim appointment under the PATRIOT Act would be canceled out by the Feinstein bill entering into force. Feinstein's bill puts a 120-day limit on any interim US Attorney appointments.
President Bush made the announcement to little fanfare on the White House website late in the day on Thursday. So far, there is no 'signing statement' associated with the bill. The bill passed the Senate by a 94-2 margin on March 20, and also cleared the House of Representatives by a 306-114 vote on May 22.
Update: Added full text of law.