- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

As assistant attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and solicitor general under President George W. Bush, I have observed firsthand what it takes to be attorney general of the United States. I know that Judge Alberto Gonzales has what it takes. He has the experience, the integrity and the dedication to our Constitution that the job demands.

I trust Al Gonzales with the law because I know he is committed to faithfully executing the laws of our country and administering them equally for all. He is an excellent choice for the job, and given the importance of the attorney general in enforcing our laws and keeping us safe, I urge the Senate to approve his nomination as quickly as possible.

Judge Gonzales is one of the president’s most distinguished and trusted confidants. Messrs. Bush and Gonzales have genuine respect and affection for each other. That relationship will serve each of them, and the nation, well in the years to come. It is vital that the president receive good legal advice, and it is difficult to overstate the value of a close relationship between the president and the nation’s leading law-enforcement professional.

Eyebrows were raised when President Kennedy appointedhisbrother Robert as attorney general. But the relationship worked, andAttorneyGeneral Kennedy was widely regarded as highly successful, in part because of his record against organized crime and civil-rights violators.

But it was also because the attorney general did not hesitate to say no or talk back to the president. The president accepted tough answers from the attorney general because he trusted him.Three years ago, President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft named the building that houses the Department of Justice after Robert F. Kennedy.

As the head of our nation’s vast law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation, the attorney general has a vital role in protecting the American people, and never more so than in a time of war. As counsel to the president, Judge Gonzales has been instrumental in coordinating the transformation of our nation’s law enforcement in the post-September 11 world. He has worked to ensure that we fight the war on terrorism in a way consistent with the Constitution, our laws and our tradition of civil liberties.

Like his predecessor as attorneygeneral,Mr. Ashcroft, he is a staunch defender of the Patriot Act, which gives law enforcement new tools to track terrorists and protect our homeland while also protecting the rights of all Americans.

As the nation’s chief law- enforcement officer, Judge Gonzales will continue to build on the successes of this administration in reducing crime, bringing those who commit corporate fraud to justice and upholding our civil-rights laws so that every American is protected from discrimination and has the opportunitytolivethe American dream, as Al himself has done.

To Judge Gonzales the law is the law, and it will be administered as it is written. This philosophy has guided the recommendations he has made to the president on judicial nominees. He has worked to identify stellar men and women for the federal bench who will enforce the law rather than force the law to suit their personal views.

Finally, in selecting Judge Gonzales to be the nation’s 80th attorney general and the first Hispanic American to hold the office, Mr. Bush has chosen a man all Americans can be proud of. One of eight children born to Mexican American migrantworkers,he worked his way up to serve in the Air Force, earn a Harvard law degree, practice law successfully in the private sector and serve at the highest levels of government.

TheSenateshould promptly confirm this man of great integrity, judgment, knowledge and decency. He will be a superb attorney general of the United States.

Theodore B. Olson served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush and assistant Attorney General under President Reagan.

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