Gonzales named 'lawyer of year'

WASHINGTON - Negative news coverage may have cost former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales his job, but it won him a dubious honor yesterday from a monthly magazine published by the American Bar Association: lawyer of the year.

The ABA Journal also named his successor, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, as its top lawyer for 2008 - mostly in anticipation of how often he likely will be in the media spotlight for trying to repair the Justice Department.

The magazine gave the awards to lawyers who made the most news, said its editor and publisher, Edward A. Adams. "Think about Time magazine's Person of the Year," Adams said. "In years past they've named people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin. So we're not suggesting by these awards that these are the best lawyers in any sense of the word."

- AP

Idaho senators block Bush pick

WASHINGTON - Idaho's senators are blocking President Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the agency has become overly aggressive in enforcing gun laws.

Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo placed separate holds on the nomination of federal prosecutor Michael Sullivan, the acting ATF director for more than a year.

Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the senator's office has heard from gun dealers, gun owners and others in Idaho who have "concerns about ATF policies regarding gun sales and even ownership. Maybe the federal government is getting a little too aggressive with people who haven't done anything wrong."

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sullivan's nomination last month. The ATF had no immediate comment yesterday.

- AP

Probe ordered of House pages

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) yesterday ordered an investigation into recent incidents involving teenage pages that led two GOP lawmakers to resign from the House Page Board.

The two Republicans last week quit the board after blaming House Clerk Lorraine Miller, the program's day-to-day administrator, for failing to immediately notify them of inappropriate conduct.

Miller, a Democratic appointee, said that the teenagers involved were expelled and that she had kept board members informed. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R., Fla.), one of the lawmakers who quit the board, said four pages had been dismissed this year. Two were reportedly involved in shoplifting and two were expelled for inappropriate sexual activity.

- AP

Elsewhere:

President Bush yesterday

signed into law a five-year renewal of Head Start, the preschool program for poor children.

Same-sex couples

plan to celebrate New Hampshire's new civil-unions law by holding a group ceremony on the Statehouse steps in Concord the minute the law takes effect Jan. 1, organizers said.

Sen. Tim Johnson

(D., S.D.) said he planned to mark the one-year anniversary of his brain hemorrhage today by visiting the doctors who saved his life.