TED OLSON COULD BE EATING WORMS. First Harry Reid; now, the New York Times editorial board. Yesterday afternoon, the Senate majority leader issued a statement declaring his opposition to any potential nomination of Theodore B. Olson as the replacement for departing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and saying, "I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general."

Today, the New York Times weighs in on Olson and so much more in its editorial on who the next attorney general should not be, and what she or he must do to fix the Department of Justice (DoJ), which the Times declares "a disaster zone." Of Olson, who, says the Times, "may be best remembered for representing Mr. Bush in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that stopped the vote recount in Florida after the 2000 election." The editorial writer goes on to note that Olson "was also on the board of the American Spectator magazine, which conducted the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded campaign to dig up dirt on Bill and Hillary Clinton."

Most searing in the Times's litany of things amiss in the Justice Department is the allegation that Gonzales and company "may have sent innocent people to jail, to advance the interests of the Republican Party."

Olson's name popped up as a potential nominee almost as soon as the Gonzales resignation was announced, winning the endorsement, as I reported here last month, of Richard Viguerie, one of the architects of the religious right. One hopes Reid opposes with equal fortitude the rest of the names on Viguerie's wish list. And that he gets the Senate moving on those contempt of Congress citations that the White House lawyers so richly deserve.

--Adele M. Stan

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