On the list for AG?

President Bush gave Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a vote of confidence last night, but why let that ruin a good story? This morning's Daily Journal speculates on possible replacements for Gonzales from among the local GOP legal gentry.

Most observers said they continue to see Gonzales' eventual departure as a forgone conclusion. Among those rumored to be potential candidates are Theodore B. Olson, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Olson began his career at Gibson Dunn in Los Angeles and Cox represented Orange County in Congress.

Both attorneys possess impressive Republican credentials and strong ties to the Bush administration. Bush appointed Cox chairman of the SEC in 2005. Olson was solicitor general during the president's first term.

In addition to Cox and Olson, the list of possible replacement candidates includes a Who's Who of prominent Republican lawyers, including PepsiCo Inc. general counsel Larry D. Thompson, Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, White House homeland security advisor Frances Townsend, and former attorney general William P. Barr.

The Daily Journal also follows the efforts of former U.S. Attorney here Debra Wong Yang to stay out of the political fray over fired federal prosecutors. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked for more information on Yang's departure just ahead of the U.S. Attorneys who were fired by the Administration. Yang says she left voluntarily for private practice at Gibson Dunn, and I'm inclined to believe her — not because I sat on a jury in her court when she was on the Municipal Court bench, but because of this: "Gibson Dunn reportedly gave Yang a guaranteed first-year compensation package of $1.5 million."

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