Alberto Gonzales must be “breathing a sigh of relief,” said Dan Slater in The Wall Street Journal online. The Justice Department won’t be referring him to a grand jury for his alleged role in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. It looks like Gonzales’ former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, is taking most of the blame.

Gonzales’ lawyer “boasted” that his client had been vindicated because a report by federal watchdogs didn‘t accuse him of misleading Congress, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. But that‘s “pitiful consolation,” considering that investigators said Gonzales presided over a nakedly partisan department. That’s a “devastating judgment.”

No wonder Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey rushed to appoint a special prosecutor, said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. That’s important because it guarantees that somebody will care about getting to the bottom of this, even after President Bush has left office.