President Bush on Thursday tapped White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to replace conservative hero John Ashcroft as attorney general. The nomination generally came as a relief to conservatives who took it as a signal that Bush would not name Gonzales, who has been weak on affirmative action and abortion, to the Supreme Court.
Tom Minnery, vice president of Focus on the Family, told The Washington Post that Gonzales would have been a problematic judicial nominee. He said, however, that his group would support Gonzales for attorney general. Conservative consultant Jeffrey Bell told the paper: “I find [the nomination of Gonzales] reassuring. It shows that Bush is a loyal person, which on a different level assures people who care about the Supreme Court.”