Well, you have to admit—he’s got a good resume.
Patrick Fitzgerald, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, is being touted by some as a potential replacement for outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Chicago Sun-Timesreports Fitzgerald’s name is being bandied about in legal circles, and no less than Illinois’ junior Senator, Mark Kirk, appears to be in Fitzgerald’s corner.
Fitzgerald’s reputation as a hard-nosed prosecutor of political corruption, along with a recognized expertise in national security law, makes him the perfect choice in the eyes of those looking to re-energize the nation’s top law enforcement office after years of controversy under Holder.
Fitzgerald won national acclaim for his many high-profile investigations during his tenure in the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s office, including convictions of two former Illinois governors, Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan. He also set his sights on media mogul Conrad Black, several aides to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in the Hired Truck Program, and Chicago detective and torturer Jon Burge.
Despite a welcome return for some to a focus on civil rights issues while in office, many observers feel Holder’s tenure to be a series of missed opportunities at best and a controversy-ridden tenure at worst.
Republicans in Congress, long opposed to Holder and more than happy to cause President Obama problems on any available political front, have already signaled their likely opposition to anyone Obama nominates for the post.
Nevertheless, some Fitzgerald backers are hoping his reputation and track record can be brought to bear on those areas critics have faulted the U.S. Attorney General’s office for being lax on. Specifically, they point to Holder’s failure to aggressively prosecute Wall Street malfeasance and re-litigate the errors and missteps of the Bush administration’s War on Terror as places where Fitzgerald could make his mark.
Yet, the last two years of any presidency are often marked by Congressional investigations into executive branch policies and behavior that could easily end up on the Attorney General’s desk. That could well mean Obama may be reluctant to appoint a prosecutorial bulldog to occupy an office just down the street on Pennsylvania Ave.