How's Your Political I.Q.?: Sept. 24-28


1. Retired U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey has just been named U.S. attorney general by President Bush.  Who was the last former federal judge to become attorney general? 

2. Who was the last federal judge to resign from the bench to take a Cabinet position? 

3. With the recent election of Democrat Nikki Tsongas to the House from Massachusetts to fill a vacancy, how many vacant seats are there now in the House? 

4. Three American Presidents have died on the Fourth of July.  How many can you name? 
5. How many former U.S. attorneys general are living?


1. Griffin Bell, former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, who was attorney general from 1976-79. 

2. Michael Chertoff, former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, who resigned to become secretary of Homeland Security in 2005. 

3. One, that of late Republican Rep. Paul Gillmor of Ohio’s 5th District, who died earlier this month.

4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, and James Monroe died on July 4, 1858.

5. Ten.  Nicholas Katzenbach (1967-68), William B. Saxbe (1974-75), Griffin Bell (1976-79), Benjamin Civiletti (1979-80), Edwin Meese (1984-87), Dick Thornburgh (1987-90), William P. Barr (1990-92), Janet Reno (1992-2000), John Ashcroft (2000-05) and Alberto Gonzales (2005-07). 

GOTCHA DEPT: Former Rep. Bob McEwen (R.-Ohio) caught us on this one.  In last week’s “I.Q.,” we asked how many former Cabinet officials now serve in the U.S. Senate.  The answer we gave was two:  former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, now Republican senator from Florida, and former secretary of Transportation and of Labor Elizabeth Dole, Republican senator from North Carolina.  But as McEwen pointed out, there are three: We had missed former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, a Republican senator from Tennessee.