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If you like Alberto R. Gonzales's story, you might also like:
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Rudolph Giuliani,
Anthony M. Kennedy,
George J. Mitchell,
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Alberto Gonzales
Alberto Gonzales
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Alberto Gonzales Interview (page: 2 / 6)

Former Attorney General of the United States

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  Alberto Gonzales

Were you a good kid?

I think my mom would be a better judge of that. I think I was a pretty good kid. I loved school, I did well in school, always have done well in school, I think I got that from my mother. I've never been in any serious problem. Of course, being the Attorney General, I might want to exercise some restraint in describing my past history. But I think I learned discipline from my parents. My mother was devout in her religion, gave me a Catholic upbringing, so I learned right from wrong very early. I don't think I gave my parents too much trouble.

And you were a good student, you say?

I did well in school because I enjoyed it. And, you know, I was in the Honor Society up through high school and things of that nature. I played sports, I loved sports. Growing up as a kid, I played a lot of sports during the summer with my brothers. I like to tell the story that my memories of my youth for the summers was, we'd get up in the morning -- and this is when there were four boys of comparable age -- and we'd play baseball, two on two, all morning. We'd make a field in our back yard, we'd put up a backstop -- we had chicken wire -- and we'd play baseball, two on two, all morning, go in, have lunch, my mom would then make us lay down and take a nap, which we hated, and after that we'd play baseball all afternoon. And then, of course, like anyone who played baseball as a kid, I really wanted to be a professional ball player, thought maybe that would be something I could do. So I loved sports, but I also loved school and did well in school. But because my father had a second grade education and my mother had a sixth grade education, there really wasn't any talk about going to college in my family. Their goal was to try to get me through high school. And so when I graduated from high school, even though I did well, I graduated with honors, there wasn't any talk about me going to college, so I enlisted in the Air Force.

When you were growing up, were there particular books that influenced you or were important to you?

I don't recall. I do recall I loved reading. I remember my sister and I used to walk by ourselves, about a mile and a half, to an elementary school. The libraries would be open and we'd be able to check out books. I would check out history books, books about sports. Books about animals I really, really enjoyed, but I can't recall any that particularly inspired or motivated me.

Were there any teachers that especially influenced you when you were in school?

I can't think of any in particular that influenced me as a kid.

Certainly, when I was in college, I was influenced by a Constitutional Law professor named Doc Colbertson at Rice University, and he taught Constitutional Law. We referred to him affectionately as Doc C. And that's when I really developed an interest in the law and thought that this would be something that I would enjoy doing. I enjoyed the constitutional law issues and the discussions about what, in fact, what does our Constitution mean and what rights are we to derive from the words in the Constitution. So he had an effect on me. And in fact, occasionally I still get correspondence from him. I sometimes see him quoted in stories about me. And so I think he takes special pride in what I've been able to achieve.

[ Key to Success ] Passion

Alberto Gonzales Interview Photo
Is he still grading you?

I'm sure he's still grading me. You'll have to ask him what he thinks is an appropriate grade for what I've been doing these past few years.

You were an honor student in high school. Did that surprise you?

Did it surprise me? No, I enjoyed school, and I hung around a group of kids who all enjoyed school and did relatively well. So no, it didn't surprise me, not at all. It may have surprised my parents, but it didn't surprise me.

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This page last revised on Jun 29, 2013 17:40 EDT
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