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Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:18 PM

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United States Attorneys

United States Attorney Appointments:

The United States Attorney is a patronage appointment of the President of the United States.  These appointees serve "At the Pleasure of the President" and is one of the most senior of all Presidential appointments and is second only to the lifetime appointments of United States Federal Judges in each Federal Judicial District of the Nation.  They are subject to the "Advice and Consent" provision of the Constitution which makes them subject to examination and confirmation of the United State Senate, usually offering their resignations at the end of each four year term of the President.


.Senator's Control over Appointments:  By political tradition, the senior Senator of the President's Party has close to ultimate power in selecting and recommending candidates for US Attorney in the Senator's State.  Junior Senators of the President's Party in the appointee's state have major influence in the selection.  If there is no Senator of the President's party in the state where the appointment will be made, United States representatives to Congress from the District have major influence on the President's nomination.  The White House generally is very serious about being certain that the appointee is both qualified and has impeccable credentials that will not bring embarrassment to the President involved.

Appointment Standards:

Appointment Standards: Even though these are patronage appointments, they are usually well vetted for professional legal standards and usually come the top attorneys in the Federal Judicial District where the appointment is to take place.  The position is very powerful in a Judicial District because the appointee heads a staff of professional civil service employees who are lawyers, and an administrative staff that supports the legal preparations of the staff.  The US Attorney and staff manage all of the criminal and civil matters in that Court.  The Justice Department in Washington provides both supervision and support to these officers.  

Justice Department Assistance to US Attorneys:  From time to time unusual cases arise in a given federal District.  An example would be a RICO Act prosecution which requires very narrow, in depth prosecution of certain complex organized crime cases.  When that sort of situation arises, the Justice Department in Washington assists the US Attorneys in various Districts.  There are a number of such specialty issues which requires expertly trained lawyers to assist local staffs.

Troubles for US Attorneys in Prior Administrations:

     There are pending issues, possible criminal issues, pending at this time because of the way the Bush Administration tried to influence certain US Attorneys to prosecute individuals in districts where the impact might have been to influence the elections in favor of Republican candidates in those districts.  Some US Attorneys may have been fired inappropriately by the White House in those scandals.  Hearings still continue in the Congress on these accusations, and the Justice Department continues investigations of Bush administration official for possible criminal prosecution under Federal Law.  Similar issues of improper conduct have arisen in other administration over the life of the Republic.   05-04-11


United States Attorneys Appointed

     Across the country, United States Attorney appointments are starting to happen. This is about as pure a form, and as important form of patronage, that exists.  Every Federal Court District has these appointments to handle federal legal business, both criminal and civil.  Normally the senior United States Senator of the President's Party in a Court District has primary control over the nomination.  These appointments have taken a major role as controversies over fired Attorneys flared up during the George W. Bush Presidency.  These are extremely important appointments. usually done well by the White House




Copyright 2001-2012 John Isaacson --Contact Information: John Isaacson, Director@Presidential-Appointments.org - Call: 210-313-7858