Last Tuesday, Senator Jon Kyl made a short appearance at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the prosecutorial independence of U.S. Attorneys, during which four of the fired prosecutors appeared to testify. The Republican member of the committee was there to show his objection to a bill put forth by Dianne Feinstein to overturn a provision slipped into the Reauthorization of the Patriot Act last year. The provision allows for the Attorney General to have unfettered power in appointing interim U.S. Attorneys, allowing them to remain in their position for the remainder of the president’s term. Historically, interim USAs needed Congress approval after 120 days in office. The new provision drastically increased executive power over appointing USAs and has been a hot issue during the investigation of the eight fired U.S. Attorneys. On Friday, Alberto Gonzales agreed to relinquish his absolute power and said the Bush administration would not stand in the way of the new law proposed by the Senate to tighten restrictions for appointing USAs.
TMPmuckraker reports today that Kyl is not going to give up so quickly and plans, despite the fact that the administration has caved to Senate pressure, to block Feinstein’s bill. The senator from Arizona has already blocked the bill once.