Could Alberto Gonzales be disbarred?

“While the political world obsesses over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can survive the outcry over the politically motivated dismissal of eight United States Attorneys, the legal academy has been debating a different aspect of the fallout: Could a case be made that the chief law-enforcement officer of the United States should be disbarred?

The question has emerged in the wake of what many consider to be damaging testimony by Monica Goodling, Mr. Gonzales’ senior counselor and the Justice Department’s White House liaison, before the House Judiciary Committee on May 23.

Ms. Goodling described a meeting in March where Mr. Gonzales said to her: “Let me tell you what I can remember,” and “laid out his general recollection” that the firings of the prosecutors had been performance-related. At his own appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April, Mr. Gonzales told the panel that “I haven’t talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven’t wanted to interfere with this investigation and department investigations.”

“It depends crucially on what the facts are,” said David Luban, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. “Given the most unfavorable interpretation, there’s clearly a case for disbarment.”