In his first choice for secretary of Homeland Security, President Bush went for style over substance, selecting Bernard Kerik, the former New York police commissioner who became a media star after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Ethics questions, however, sent Kerik’s nomination down in flames.
For his second choice, Bush took substance over style. Announcing the nomination of Michael Chertoff, the President joked that Chertoff had already been confirmed by the Senate three times—as U.S. attorney for Newark, N.J., as chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Justice Department (where he helped craft the PATRIOT Act), and as a federal appeals-court judge. In the mid-1990s, Chertoff served as Republican counsel for the Senate committee investigating the Whitewater scandal. When the Senate confirmed him to the Department of Justice in 2001, and to the appeals court in 2003, the only vote against him each time was cast by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D.-N.Y.).