Washington, D.C. President Bush's pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department asked to have his nomination withdrawn Friday, four days before he was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bill Mercer sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm him as associate attorney general, a post he has held on an interim basis since September. He plans to leave Washington and turn his full attention to his work as U.S. attorney for Montana.
"With no clear end in sight with respect to my nomination, it is untenable for me to pursue both responsibilities and provide proper attention to my family," Mercer wrote.
The Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing on Mercer's nomination for Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the committee had said senators needed the facts from an investigation into the firings of several federal prosecutors before he could be confirmed.