August 27th, 2007
07:42 PM ET
15 years ago

Commentary: Time for a black attorney general

Who should succeed Gonzales as attorney general? Roland Martin has made his pick.

(CNN) - Now that Alberto Gonzales has finally jumped ship, President George W. Bush is in a tough position.

He needs to fight back charges from Democrats that the Justice Department has no credibility, and of course, he must also give Republicans some hope that he has someone in mind who they can rally behind.

One name that would be a win-win: Larry Thompson.

Thompson served as deputy attorney general of the United States from January 2001 until August 2003, and was widely seen as a comforting presence while a volatile John Ashcroft was sitting in the top spot. He left for a big corporate gig as PepsiCo’s senior vice president and general counsel.

Not only is he seen as a moderate; Thompson was also widely respected when he was the top U.S. attorney for the northern District of Georgia. Democrats and Republicans both like him, and that’s a good thing today.

Another plus? He’s African-American.

Sure, people should be appointed based on qualifications, but he has that. His race is an added element.

First, Thompson would be the first African-American to serve as attorney general, and Bush has already had a couple of firsts (Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State). Second, Bush would get someone who he already knows, and can trust to get through what some are already calling a tough confirmation hearing.

Thompson may have been making the big bucks in the private sector, but he surely wouldn’t pass up the chance at making history, and helping a president in desperate need of some good news.

- CNN contributor Roland Martin

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. race car driver, commonwealth of virignia

    I'm not a fan of affirmative action. I do believe that the most qualified person should get the job.

    However, I don't think Roland Martin meant to say that race should matter over qualifications. At least, that's what I hope. My view is that he's saying, look, all things being equal, if it's down to like 6 candidates and 5 are white and 1 is a minority, maybe you should pick the minority just the mix it up and not have everyone be white.

    It's often hard to judge who is the "most qualified." Candidates are often very similar. Oh, you graduated first from Harvard, but the other guy graduated first in Yale. Or, one guy won 300 cases, but the other guy only won 290. I mean, these guys are all very similar. So if you have to break a tie or whatever, perhaps lean toward a minority guy. Once again, i don't subscribe to that line of thinking, I just don't think people like Mr. Martin are saying that race should be considered above qualifictions. Just that if there's no clear "most qualified" then perhaps race should be considered.

    August 29, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  2. angel

    Anyone serving under Bush will simply be his lap dog. Who wants their resume tainted? Just look at Condi who has not achieved a single success. Condi for next Prez!

    August 29, 2007 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  3. Katrina, Southfield, MI

    I do not find this article offensive or insulting. Just a statement of facts based on our political culture and climate.

    I don't roll my eyes in disgust every time a person not-of-color is supported for an available position...

    August 29, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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