Legal Commentary: John Dean Archive

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WHY THE SENATE SHOULD HAVE AN EARLIER, LARGER ROLE IN JUSTICES' CONFIRMATIONS
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that the Senate should have a more expansive role in the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices. Dean explains that, in the Court's own view and based on constitutional language, the confirmation process is a responsibility shared between the president and the Senate. In addition, he explains, a shared process has worked well -- avoiding showy, divisive confirmation hearings -- with respect to the confirmations of lower federal court judges. The same process, he urges, could work well for Justices.
Friday, Mar. 16, 2001

WHY CRIMINALLY INVESTIGATING FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean contends that criminally investigating former President Clinton would set a dangerous precedent, deterring potential officeholders from public service and lowering the quality of our politics, in which presidents increasingly are presumed guilty as soon as allegations are made. Dean criticizes the Southern District's ongoing investigations of New York-related Clinton pardons, and suggests that Attorney General Ashcroft might be well advised to intervene to attempt to end the investigations.
Friday, Mar. 02, 2001

WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH CHOOSES SUPREME COURT APPOINTEES
In recent administrations, Presidents have generally chosen their Supreme Court nominees from the ranks of judges alone. But, as FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains, it was not always thus. Before Justice Hugo Black's retirement in 1971, there was a tradition of always having a former member of the Congress, or of the Continental Congress, serve on the Supreme Court. Dean contends that in choosing Supreme Court appointees, President George W. Bush should return to this tradition.
Friday, Feb. 16, 2001

WHY AN INVESTIGATION OF THE MARC RICH PARDON IS IMMINENT
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean predicts a Congressional investigation of former President Clinton's eleventh hour pardon of financier Marc Rich. Dean notes, however, that such an investigation will not make much progress without Clinton's cooperation -- and that the former President might set a bad precedent if he were to cooperate in an investigation into his use of his plenary pardon power.
Friday, Feb. 02, 2001

AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, ASHCROFT WILL GO NOWHERE FAST
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean predicts that Bush attorney general nominee John Ashcroft will be confirmed, but notes that Ashcroft's supporters shouldn't rejoice -- nor should Ashcroft's foes weep. Dean argues that constraints that affect any attorney general mean that the position is inherently a comparatively weak one, among those in the Cabinet. The attorney general, Dean explains, is not only accountable to the President and Congress, but also must be obedient to the judiciary's rulings, and cooperate with career attorneys at the Justice Department. With all these constraints, Ashcroft's ability as an administrator, Dean contends, will count more than his ideology.
Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

WHY BUSH'S WHITE HOUSE STAFF WILL BE MORE POWERFUL THAN HIS CABINET
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean rebuts the recently-touted notion that the Bush Administration will be dominated by the Cabinet. Dean explains why institutional realities will result in Bush's White House staff being much more powerful than his Cabinet -- and reflects on the historical increase in the Vice President's power, a trend from which Dick Cheney will benefit.
Friday, Jan. 05, 2001

BEING WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: WHAT AL GONZALES CAN EXPECT
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains what President-elect George W. Bush's White House Counsel -- former Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales -- can expect when he arrives in D.C. Mr. Dean discusses the White House Counsel's powers, perils, and possibilities, and explains why the White House Counsel needs to be especially alert to line-of-succession issues.
Friday, Dec. 22, 2000

PRESIDENT CLINTON'S INDICTMENT AND PARDON — COMING SOON
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean predicts that Independent Counsel Ray will indict President Clinton shortly after Clinton leaves office; suggests that the indictment issue may play out quite differently depending on whether the new president is Gore or Bush; and considers whether Clinton would be well-advised to either pardon himself, or accept a pardon from the new president.
Friday, Dec. 08, 2000

THE TRANSITION DELAY: A SIGNIFICANT SETBACK FOR THE NEW PRESIDENT
FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President John Dean explains the consequences, for the country and the next President, that are mounting day by day as the transition to a new administration continues to be delayed. He speculates about how the new president may be able to work to regain the popular mandate he will not initially enjoy.
Friday, Nov. 24, 2000

VANISHING VOTERS: WHY AMERICANS DON'T VOTE, AND HOW THAT MIGHT CHANGE
Now that Election Day is over, former White House Counsel and FindLaw columnist John Dean examines the reasons for why American voters are vanishing from election booths and looks at a solution to stop this downward spiral.
Wednesday, Nov. 08, 2000

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