It’s never too late to start doing the right thing. And so it goes that President Bush still has time to do right by our system of justice and appoint as U.S. Attorney General the man he should have appointed when he chose loyalty to an old friend, Alberto Gonzales, over competency and substance. The right man for the job of America’s Top Cop is Asa Hutchinson — the former congressman from Arkansas who served on the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have indicated they want someone at DoJ they can trust and work with, and Hutchinson has a sterling reputation on both sides of the aisle.

Even as one of 13 members of the House to serve as an impeachment manager in 1998, Hutchinson was one of the few who survived with his reputation intact — many would say, enhanced. So much so that a partisan like Congressman John Conyers personally testified in support of Hutchinson’s appointment at DEA.

Lest you think, as did I, that there’s at least one U.S. Senator — Hillary Clinton — not likely to vote for Hutchinson’s confirmation, it’s important to note that she twice voted in favor of confirming Hutchinson to positions in the Bush administration. Senator Clinton voted to confirm Hutchinson as Undersecretary of Border and Transportation Security at DHS and as DEA administrator. Including his appointment as U.S. attorney, Hutchinson has been confirmed by the Senate a total of three times. There’s little reason to suspect they wouldn’t confirm him a fourth time.

In 2005, David Broder wrote that Asa Hutchinson was just the kind of levelheaded, non-partisan and experienced person the administration should nominate to the Supreme Court.

“The high esteem in which former Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is held by his colleagues was demonstrated by the 98-1 Senate vote confirming him last month as the new director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Even more telling was the fact that Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and an ardent opponent of the impeachment of President Clinton, appeared at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to praise Hutchinson, who had been one of the Republican House managers presenting the case against Clinton to the full Senate. In his 4 1/2 years in the House, Hutchinson, a former U.S. attorney, earned an estimable reputation as a thoughtful conservative and, as liberals like Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont affirmed, as a fair-minded advocate.”

There you have it. A man even Senator Leahy deems a fair-minded advocate. America couldn’t ask for a better U.S. attorney general than Asa Hutchinson. It’s never too late to do the right thing.