Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said today he's looking forward to teaching at Texas Tech University as a visiting professor even as he continues to explore other professional opportunities.
Gonzales, who resigned from his government post in August 2007 amid controversy over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, said the university in Lubbock, Texas, offered him an opportunity to teach about topics of “great interest to me.” Gonzales is also expected to promote diversity outreach at the university.
He plans to move to the city with his family and find an apartment, taking either a month-to-month or six-month lease. Moving and setting up at Texas Tech, he said, will be an “adventure.” Gonzales added he expects to feel “comfortable” in the conservative atmosphere in Lubbock in west Texas.
Gonzales, who currently participates on the lecture circuit and has a mediation practice, said there has been “too much fixation” on his not landing a job in private practice.
“Lawyers do all kinds of things other than working in private firms,” said Gonzales, a former partner in the Houston office with Vinson & Elkins. “To the extent I ever consider private practice, it would only be if it provided me the flexibility to write, give speeches and serve on boards in the community.”
Texas Tech University, and not the law school there, was a better fit in term of flexibility, Gonzales said.
This fall, Gonzales will teach a course on contemporary issues in the executive branch. In the spring, he said he may instruct about how Congress, the courts and the president have dealt with national security issues since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“There were some extraordinary decisions and events that occurred during the previous administration,” Gonzales said. “I have the advantage of having been in the Oval Office when those decisions were made.”
Gonzales declined to offer up a performance review of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., saying that he respects Holder and that the job—no matter who has the post—is not immune from controversy.
On the president’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to replace retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Gonzales called Sotomayor well-qualified to serve on the high court. Republican and Democratic lawmakers, he said, have an obligation to ask Sotomayor to explain and clarify what Gonzales called “troubling” public remarks.
Critics on the right say some of Sotomayor’s public remarks show she has allowed race and ethnicity to play into judicial decision-making. Gonzales, whose name was floated for the Supreme Court under President George W. Bush, said he plans to watch the confirmation hearing. Or at least part of it, he said.