Read Gonzales’s prepared opening statement without your jaw dropping. I am excerpting here, the rest is online. (WPost):

…Mr. Chairman, the highest objective of the Department of Justice is the pursuit of justice. This noble objective — justice — is reflected in human terms in the hopeful eyes of a new citizen, voting for the first time; in the quiet gratitude of a victim of crime whose rights have been vindicated in the courts; and in the pride of a person given the opportunity to succeed, no matter the skin color, or gender, or disability. For justice, properly understood, cannot in my view be divorced from the individual. It always has a human dimension and if confirmed as attorney general, I pledge that I will always remember that.

James Byrd, dragged to death in Texas; murdered gay Alabamian Billy Jack Gaither. Will Gonzales care about people like these?

If confirmed as attorney general, I will no longer represent only the White House; I will represent the United States of America and its people. I understand the differences between the two roles. In the former, I have been privileged to advise the president and his staff. In the latter, I would have a far broader responsibility: to pursue justice for all the people of our great nation; to see that the laws are enforced in a fair and impartial manner for all Americans.

Wherever we pursue justice — from the war on terror to corporate fraud to civil rights — we must always be faithful to the rule of law. I want to make very clear that I am deeply committed to the rule of law. I have a deep and abiding commitment to the fundamental American principle that we are a nation of laws, and not of men. That commitment is the core principle that has guided all of my professional endeavors.

Our government’s most basic obligation is to protect its citizens from enemies who would destroy their lives and our nation’s way of life. The Department of Justice’s top priority is to prevent terror attacks against our nation.

As we fight the war on terror, we must always honor and observe the principles that make our society so unique and worthy of protection. We must be committed to preserving civil rights and civil liberties. I look forward if I am confirmed to working with the committee, the Congress and the public to ensure that we are doing all we can to do so. Although we may have differences from time to time, we all love our country and want to protect it while remaining true to our nation’s highest ideals. Working together, we can accomplish that goal.

After the attacks of 9/11, our government had fundamental decisions to make concerning how to apply treaties and U.S. law to an enemy that does not wear a uniform, owes no allegiance to any country, is not a party to any treaties and — most importantly — does not fight according to the laws of war. As we have debated these questions, the president has made clear that he is prepared to protect and defend the Untied States and its citizens, and will do so vigorously, but always in a manner consistent with our nation’s values and applicable law, including our treaty obligations. I pledge that, if I am confirmed as attorney general, I will abide by those commitments.

…Mr. Chairman, it is a distinct honor to appear before the committee today. I appreciate the time and attention that members of the committee and their staffs have dedicated to this hearing and to consideration of my nomination. And I look forward to answering your questions not just at this hearing, but if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, in the months and years ahead as we work together in the noble and high calling of the pursuit of justice.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding