MALDEF, the nation’s premier Latino civil rights organization, released a statement today regarding the likely confirmation of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to the Cabinet post of Attorney General. Below is the statement released today by Ann Marie Tallman, MALDEF President and General Counsel.....(excerpt)
MALDEF is America’s premier Latino civil rights Organization, and from this unique position, we have serious questions and concerns about Judge Gonzales’ record in three important areas of the law. First, Judge Gonzales’ public statements and past record demonstrate Support and deference to our Federal Government’s Executive branch. It will be imperative for the Attorney General to question and challenge unilateral exercise of executive authority when matters of constitutional concern and violations of our federal laws demand that the Attorney General protect individual civil liberties or civil rights. In addition, there remains a concern about Judge Gonzales’ unique position and transition—from Counsel to the President of the United States to the United States Attorney General—and his ability to determine when to appoint a special counsel. There is a question whether Judge Gonzales can fairly and independently determine in a matter he previously gave advice to the President as the President’s attorney, if a special counsel should be appointed. A possible inherent conflict of interest based upon his on-going attorney-client duties to the President may impede his ability to be independent.
Second, due process under the law is an important Constitutional protection. Judge Gonzales’ past record in the Texas Death Penalty cases and his association with memoranda setting aside the application of international war conventions as applied to enemy combatants raises concerns about whether he may set aside constitutionally guaranteed due process protections in various domestic circumstances.
Third, the federal government has sole authority and responsibility to uphold our nation’s immigration policies while working to keep our homeland safe and secure. MALDEF is concerned that Judge Gonzales, as Attorney General, may delegate such important federal civil and criminal immigration authority to state and local law enforcement already overburdened with responsibilities to protect and serve at the local level without the appropriate due process protections that must remain guaranteed at the federal level....
However, because of our specific concerns regarding apparent primacy of executive authority; a potential conflict of interest in the transition from Counsel to the President to Attorney General in enforcing the special counsel law; setting aside due process protections; and, uncertainty about whether inherent authority exists at the state and local level to enforce federal immigration policy, MALDEF cannot support his confirmation.
To know is to understand historical context. MALDEF demonstrates astute recognition of the psychology required for liberation.
Ignacio Martin-Baro, Writings for a Liberation Psychology (Harvard University Press, 1994).