Griffin Bell declined to wade directly into the bubbling controversy over the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys, but the former attorney general said he feels strongly that politics has no place at the U.S. Justice Department.

“The Justice Department operates on neutral principles,” said Bell, a senior partner at King & Spalding in Atlanta and a former judge with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before serving as attorney general under President Jimmy Carter from 1977-79. “It can’t be in politics.”

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