Perhaps most crucially, Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has predicted that Gonzales’ tenure as attorney general will not survive the investigation. He said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Gonzales may be forced to step down before a no-confidence vote reaches the floor.
“I have a sense that before the vote is taken that Attorney General Gonzales may step down,” Specter said.
Specter cited the unusual historical nature of such a vote of no-confidence and predicted Gonzales would rather resign than be subjected to such a “historical black mark.”
Senate Associate Historian Don Ritchie said he could not recall another no-confidence vote on a Cabinet member in the Senate’s history.
But there have been other comparable votes censuring or condemning presidents, Senators and Cabinet members. In 1886, for instance, the Senate voted to censure President Grover Cleveland’s attorney general, A.H. Garland, because he did not provide documents about the firing of a federal prosecutor.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.