This chapter examines the Bush administration's attempts to displace traditional criteria and processes, such as merit selection, to centralize justice policy. It begins with an overview of centralization and local control in the federal justice system before turning to the so-called Ashcroft Memo, issued by Attorney General John Ashcroft to prosecutors to control charging and sentencing decisions. It then discusses the Bush administration's systematic intimidation of federal judges who had exercised their discretion to give a lesser sentence under federal sentencing guidelines, along with the attempt by Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales to promote the use of the death penalty in federal cases. It also analyzes the question of prosecutors' ability to inspect material covered by attorney–client privilege and concludes with an assessment of the implications of the Bush administration's centralization of policy for politics and patronage.
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