Friday, February 08, 2008

Who is Steven Bradbury?

Steven Bradbury's name is popping up in all sorts of blogs these days. Who is he? According to the White House website, Steven G. Bradbury is the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel U.S. Department of Justice.

Yesterday, Dan Froomkin, who blogs for The Washington Post, linked to several recent articles about Bradbury in "Nominee Watch":

Holly Rosenkrantz writes for Bloomberg: "President George W. Bush said the Senate must vote on his backlog of more than 200 nominees promptly and stop treating them like 'political pawns.'

"'The confirmation process has turned into a never-ending political game where everyone loses,' Bush said in a statement at the White House in Washington. 'It is clear that the process is not working.'"

Paul Kiel writes for TPM Muckraker that at the heart of this controversy lies Steven Bradbury, who has been the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel for more than three years.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and [Dick] Durbin, the Senate whip, revealed that, in negotiations with the White House late last year before the Christmas holiday, the President refused to strike a deal on nominees unless Reid allowed him to recess appoint Bradbury. Reid said he'd offered to confirm 84 of the pending nominees, but the White House said no dice. . . .

Jim Oliphant blogs for Tribune Newspapers: "Who is Steven Bradbury? "Bradbury is the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. The critically important office provides legal advice to the White House and it was this office that, at various times during the Bush administration, green-lighted controversial anti-terror policies involving extreme interrogation methods and the warrantless wiretapping program.

"Bradbury was nominated in 2005. He's been doing the job in an acting basis ever since because the Democratic-led Senate has made it crystal-clear they won't vote to approve him. Durbin said that Bradbury signed off on legal opinions approving abusive interrogation practices such as waterboarding and complained that the Justice Department won't hand over those memos.
"The Senate was so fearful that Bush would use a recess appointment to make Bradbury's position permanent that it stayed in session over the Christmas break, having Sen. Jim Webb come in daily to bang the gavel. . . .

"'When the president is willing to vote so many of his own people -- including four Assistant Secretaries of Defense and the Fed -- off the island for one nominee, you know that person must be special. And special he is,' Reid said. 'Mr. Bradbury is the lawyer who loves to give the president the answer he wants regardless of the law, regardless of its impact on our nation and regardless of what it does to our standing in the world.'"

In a letter to Mukasey this week, Durbin described his concerns about Bradbury -- and about whether his continued service as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel violates the law.

(photo of Bradbury: White House website)

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