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FROM THIS EPISODE

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faces more questions about partisan politics in the administration of justice.  Were federal prosecutors hired for their Republican leanings?  Did they use their power to influence some of last year's closest elections?  Also, Congressional Democrats respond to record-high gas prices and, on Reporter's Notebook, is a sarcophagus broken into hundreds of pieces the long-sought Herod's tomb?  

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Dan Konecky
Karen Radziner

Main Topic Partisan Politics and the Administration of Justice 35 MIN, 39 SEC

Last year, the Boston Globe reported that former Attorney General John Ashcroft changed the process for hiring new attorneys for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, which handles sensitive issues, including racial discrimination, employment opportunity and voting rights. The potential for political interference in the division is greater than in other areas of federal law. In previous administrations--Democrat and Republican--career jobs had been handled by civil servants. Ashcroft assigned that task to political appointees, a move that has reportedly changed the division dramatically.  Now the focus is on the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, who is headed back to Capitol Hill to answer some controversial questions: Have federal prosecutors been hired for their legal experience or their Republican leanings?  Were legal cases either filed or ignored because of their likely influence on close elections that determined the balance of Congressional power? We hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage and Justice Department veterans on both sides of issues that go to the heart of Constitutional democracy.  

Guests:
Charlie Savage, New York Times (@charlie_savage)
Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity
David Becker, Director of the Democracy Campaign at the People for the American Way
David Bowermaster, Federal Courts Reporter for the Seattle Times

Making News Gas Prices Climb Higher and Higher 5 MIN, 44 SEC

The latest Lundberg Survey shows that gasoline has gone up to a record $3.07 nationwide. In California, $4 for premium could be a reality in the near future.  Democrats in Congress are preparing price-gouging legislation for later today.  Economist and consultant Phillip Verleger publishes the newsletter, "Petroleum Economics Monthly."

Guests:
Philip Verleger, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Reporter's Notebook King Herod's Tomb Found 7 MIN, 28 SEC

Herod the Great expanded the Second Jewish Temple and built the walls of the old city of Jerusalem.  The Romans appointed him King of the Jews in 40 BC.  The Christian Gospel of Matthew says that Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents, the killing of all children in Bethlehem under two, when he learned that Jesus had been born. Now archaeologist Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University claims he has found hundreds of pieces of what he believes to be Herod's sarcophagus--a major discovery. Professor Kathryn Gleason of Cornell University is Project Director of the Excavation of Herod's Promontory Palace at Caesarea on the coast of Israel.

Guests:
Kathryn Gleason, Project Director of the Excavation of Herod's Promontory Palace

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