Why Is Clement Out?
Paul Clement, the Bush administration’s top litigator — who many thought would replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General- is leaving after three years on the job as solicitor general. Clement represented the White House in 49 Supreme Court cases, which included arguing that military commissions, absent habeas corpus rights, are constitutional. A Justice Department spokesman told Reuters that Clement left to spend time with family.
Besides devotion to loved ones, why would Clement decide not to stick it out until the bitter end? His timing is a little odd, considering the Supreme Court is about to decide, again, whether military commissions are constitutional. It also comes when Congress has subpoenaed Justice Dept. officials to testify about the Guantanamo Bay procedures that Clement defended.
Beyond his most high-profile work defending the "war on terror," Clement fought the conservative fight on issues like withholding federal money from college’s that ban military recruiters (school’s do so on grounds that the military discriminates against gays).
Clement is not entirely without his contradictions, though. He created some hand-wringing by the right over his recent defense of D.C.’s ban on handguns. And hipper conservatives have taken to Clement for his fondness of dance punk band Franz Ferdinand.