An ideologue, yes, but an ideologue acting on orders or on her own?
When Monica Goodling goes before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, that will be the central question.
No one can read the two profiles of Goodling in The Los Angeles Times
and Washington Post
this morning and not come away with the impression that Goodling was a true believer. From her high perch in the Justice Department, Goodling worked to make sure that the Justice Department was staffed with staunch conservatives. For her part, Goodling's conservative ideals were such
"that she once refused to go to a Justice Department baby shower because the mother was unwed."
Goodling's influence at the department was far-flung. As both the Post
report this morning, Goodling on at least one occasion blocked the hiring of an assistant U.S. attorney because she feared he was a "liberal Democrat." And when Debra Wong Yang, the U.S. attorney for Los Angeles, stepped down last November, Goodling and Kyle Sampson went around the normal selection process and set to work finding a replacement. Despite the fact that a special commission had been set up in California to select and vet U.S. attorney candidates, Goodling and Sampson selected and began interviewing candidates of their own, a number of whom had been political appointees at the Department. When the commission members found out, they put a stop to it:
"They were caught in the act," said the person familiar with the process. "This was frankly a warning sign that problems existed among a relatively small group â¦ who decided they had power and authority and could do what they wanted."
But had Goodling and Sampson decided this on their own? Or did they do it on orders from the White House? That's the key question for Goodling today. We'll see what she says.