Republicans in the know are saying that if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales ends up falling on his sword due to the imbroglio about the fired US Attorneys, six names are being mentioned as possible replacements. For both reasons of politics and of competence/experience, perhaps the best choice is former Deputy AG Larry Thompson. But he's doing fine in the private sector and one wonders whether he will see any advantage in giving up a lucrative spot for the headaches at Justice. (Also mentioned is former Sen. Fred Thompson, but he is getting closer and closer to running for president; he won't take AG.) The bet here is that Michael Chertoff will move over from Homeland Security. Chertoff is a lawyer's lawyer and has the clout, the toughness, the reputation for integrity, and the experience to do the job superbly.
Moving up fast on the outside is DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman. He already has taken senior status on the bench, so he could move over without costing conservatives a spot on the key circuit. And he's tough as nails.
Others mentioned are conservative super-lawyer Ted Olson, and GOP insider George Terwilliger, a former Deputy AG and former acting AG. He's not necessarily a movement conservative, though.
On reflection, rank them in this order of likelihood: Chertoff and Silberman as entries 1 and 1a. Terwilliger as 2, Larry Thompson as 3, and then Olson and Thompson.
Personally, I would like to throw several other names in the mix, but I don't hear anybody else talking about them and so I won't give them the hassle of being asked about it because of being mentioned here.
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