President Bush has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to be America's new Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Gonzalez would be the first Hispanic-American to hold the nation's top law enforcement position.
President Bush chose a long-time confidant to fill the first vacancy of his second term. Judge Gonzales served then-Texas-Governor Bush as general counsel and Secretary of State before taking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court.
Having come to Washington as White House counsel following the 2000 election, this is the fifth time President Bush has asked him to serve on his team. Mr. Bush says he is very grateful that Judge Gonzales keeps saying yes.
"His sharp intellect and sound judgment have helped shape our policies in the war on terror, policies designed to protect the security of all Americans while protecting the rights of all Americans," said Mr. Bush. "As the top legal official on the White House staff, he has led a superb team of lawyers and has upheld the highest standards of government ethics."
President Bush says Judge Gonzales always gives him his frank opinion and is a calm and steady voice in times of crisis.
"Serving as Attorney General is one of the most challenging duties in our government," added Mr. Bush. "As the nation's chief law enforcement officer, Al will continue our administration's great progress in fighting crime, in strengthening the FBI, and improving our domestic efforts in the war on terror."
Alberto Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas to migrant workers who never finished elementary school. He grew up in a two-bedroom house with seven siblings and went to public schools before studying at Rice University and Harvard Law School.
Mr. Gonzales served in the U.S. Air Force between 1973 and 1975, and attended the Air Force Academy between 1975 and 1977.
Appearing with the president in the White House Roosevelt Room, Judge Gonzales said it is a common prayer in the Hispanic community to have an opportunity to succeed and the chance to prove oneself. He thanked President Bush for that chance.
"As a former judge, I know well that some government positions require a special level of trust and integrity," said Mr. Gonzales. "The American people expect and deserve a Department of Justice guided by the rule of law and there should be no question regarding the department's commitment to justice for every American. On this principle there can be no compromise."
Judge Gonzales and his wife, Rebecca, have three sons. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will take over from Attorney General John Ashcroft who resigned following the president's re-election, saying the Justice Department would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration.