Bartleby the Attorney General

Go read this article by Dahlia Lithwick on Abu-G.

Finally, the AG proves himself to be as defiantly incurious as his boss. He tells the committee at various times that he didn’t read the CRS report detailing how previous administrations handled U.S. attorney dismissals. He didn’t read the University of Minnesota study that broke down the disparity in investigations of Democrats over Republicans He tells Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that he still has not read the fired U.S. attorneys’ personnel files. He notes several times that he hasn’t much read the newspapers. He tells Sanchez that he still doesn’t know who at Justice had more than “limited input” into these decisions. The most revealing moment, perhaps, is when Gonzales inadvertently confesses that some members of this secret cabal of senior leaders may not have even “known that they were involved in making this list.” Poor James Comey thought he was making cocktail-party conversation, when in fact Kyle Sampson was using his judgments on U.S. attorneys as ammunition against them.

Robert Wexler, D-Fla., finally loses his temper and starts hollering: “You did not select Iglesias for the list.” (No). “Did Sampson select him?” (No). “Did Comey?” (No.) “Did McNulty?” (No.) Did the president? (No.) “Did the vice president? (No).” Then Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., follows up with one of the best queries of the day: “If you don’t know who put Iglesias on the list, how do you know the president or the vice president didn’t?”

Long silence. Pause. “They wouldn’t do that,” hems Gonzales. “The White House has said publicly that it was not involved in adding or deleting people from the list.”.


At first Bartleby copies diligently, but declines to perform other duties, telling his perplexed boss “I would prefer not to” when asked, for example, to help the other scriveners proofread a document. Later, he stops working altogether, repeating only “I would prefer not to” when pressed for an explanation. (Although many people err in the wording here, it should be noted that Bartleby never actually refuses; he just states he would prefer not to. At one point, when his boss declares angrily “You will not?” he gently replies “I prefer not.”)

The narrator, torn between pity and exasperation, also discovers that Bartleby apparently has no home or friends, and lives in the office. Reluctant to dismiss the man, but nettled by what he perceives as his “pallid haughtiness”, he tries to persuade him to resume work, or to at least explain himself. Bartleby, however, only repeats his mantra, and the narrator eventually fires him. Bartleby, however, continues to haunt the premises, causing the lawyer considerable embarrassment. Unwilling to have him arrested, the narrator finally moves his offices to escape his presence.

The only difference is, nobody is going to fire Gonzalez and we all can’t move.

I already checked. Canada said “No”.



Yeah. Like I would tell you....