Former U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales talks experiences, upcoming national issues
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 00:11
The man who once served as the second highest law enforcement official to the president spoke to Sam Houston students last week about the role he played as well as the future of the country as part of the Fall President’s Speaker Series.
Former U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales sat down with SHSU President Dana Gibson and in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center on Nov. 20 and discussed Gonzales’ views on the importance of education as well as the possible challenges of a new attorney general.
Current Attorney General Eric Holder has been rumored to be resigning soon, and Gonzales was able to talk about which important issues the new Attorney General would face.
"I think the war on terrorism continues to be the number one priority in the law enforcement intelligence community," Gonzales said. "We live in a very dangerous and complex world still today after a decade after 9/11. When I was Attorney General, that was my primary focus. I think that will remain true with the Attorney General in the foreseeable future."
Gonzales served as the attorney general of the U.S. from 2005-2007, but he held an even more historic title of the first Hispanic attorney general. He said that this didn’t affect his service, but made his appointment more important to him.
"There’s no brown justice, no black justice, no white justice; there is just justice in America," Gonzales said. "I always focused on… doing what was right for the American people. But I also understood that in certain households in America, there was a certain pride that there was somebody names Gonzales serving as the Chief Officer of the country and the Chief Lawyer in the White House."
Gonzales also gave insight and advice to first-generation students after Gibson pointed out that he was the first in his family to attend college.
"This is just the beginning," Gonzales said. "There is so much more to achieve with success in life and this is a solid foundation here at Sam Houston. Prepare yourself… At some point in your life, someone is going to come along and give you a chance and hopefully you’ll recognize it and take advantage of it."
After nearly 10 years of schooling and serving in the U.S. Air Force, Gonzales made partner at a Houston-based law firm where he dealt mostly with business transactions and paperwork. During the event, Gonzales joked that his wife said that he wasn’t a real lawyer because he rarely was inside a courthouse.
In 1997, Governor George W. Bush appointed Gonzales to Secretary of State of Texas and two years later to the Texas Supreme Court. After Bush’s election to President of the United States in January 2001, Gonzales worked on the White House Counsel until his nomination to Attorney General, replacing John Ashcroft in 2005.
During his term as attorney general, Gonzales faced controversy over many things. Among the controversies was the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping and eavesdropping when Gonzales publically threatened to sue the New York Times for releasing the information condemning the government’s actions. After many calls to resign made by Senators and other public officials, Gonzales resigned in August 2007.
Gonzales is currently a political science professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX where he began in 2009.