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Alberto Gonzales

Political Figure / Lawyer

Born: 4 August 1955
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas
Best known as: U.S. Attorney General, 2005-2007
Alberto Gonzales's long association with George W. Bush carried him to high political positions in Texas and then to a controversial tenure as Attorney General of the United States. A veteran of the Air Force and a Harvard Law School graduate, Gonzales began practicing law in 1982 with the Houston firm of Vinson & Elkins. Gonzales joined then-Governor Bush as general counsel in 1994, then was made Texas Secretary of State in 1997. Bush appointed him to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999. When Bush won the White House in 2000, Gonzales joined the administration as White House counsel. After Bush won a second term, Gonzales was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General on 3 February 2005, becoming the highest-ranking Hispanic-American official in the country. While at the White House, Gonzales was behind the controversial authorization of military tribunals for suspected terrorists, and given credit for a 2002 memo that downplayed the obligations of the U.S. with regard to internationally-agreed provisions against torture. (He famously referred to some provisions of the Geneva Convention as "quaint.") Critics accused Gonzales of okaying the torture of Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters; supporters said he was merely doing his job in exploring all possibilities. As Attorney General he was criticized in 2007 for firing eight federal prosecutors in what appeared to be a politically-motivated purge. A congressional investigation ensued. Gonzales resigned as Attorney General on September 17th of 2007.
Extra credit: Gonzales succeeded John Ashcroft (2001-05) as Attorney General... Gonzales was mentioned as a possible candidate for the Supreme Court early in the Bush presidency; instead, Bush successfully nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito in 2005... The congressional investigations of 2007 also examined the role of former White House counsel and failed Supreme Court candidate Harriet Miers.

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