Under Bush, Politicization of Federal Prosecutions SoaredYou know, Bill Clinton was hardly a die-hard progressive president, but at least he understood why progressives place an emphasis on the separation of the passage of laws in the congress, the enactment of laws by the executive, and the enforcement of laws by the judiciary. Three separate and equal branches each interact with the law in their own way to prevent the law from being manipulated for any one person's or institution's gain. One area of overlap between the branches exists in the Department of Justice, which sits in the executive branch yet handles prosecutions of federal crimes in the courts. To preserve the independence of criminal prosecutions and keep political considerations from steering the path to imprisonment, Bill Clinton restricted the discussion of federal cases between the White House and the Justice Department to 2 liaisons in Justice and 4 in the White House. This system worked so well that Clinton managed to get impeached thanks to the activities of an independent counsel working in his own Justice Department! Under the Bush administration, however, the independence of the Justice Department's prosecutions from White House politics disappeared as links between the two proliferated. Within a year of Bush taking office, 417 White House staff members and 42 Justice Department employees were involved in discussions of federal prosecutions, ensuring that the hammer of federal justice would strike to the partisan rhythm of the Bush administration. (Source: Associated Press December 20 2007)
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