Tag: Michael Mukasey (page 2)

Mukasey Still Does Not Know If Waterboarding Is Torture

Via TPM:

President Bush's nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he does not know whether waterboarding is illegal. He pledged to study the matter and to reverse any Justice Department finding that endorses a practice that violates the law or the Constitution. "If, after such a review, I determine that any technique is unlawful, I will not hesitate to so advise the president and will rescind or correct any legal opinion of the Department of Justice that supports the use of the technique," Michael Mukasey wrote to the committee's 10 Democrats.

Incredible. Shameless. Outrageous. Disqualifying.

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Hillary Clinton Opposes Mukasey Confirmation

Hillary Clinton released this statement today, opposing the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General.

We need an Attorney General who has the strength to challenge this Administration when it is wrong, who is committed to reestablishing the independence of the Department of Justice and to restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I am deeply troubled by Judge Mukasey’s continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked Executive power.

The Attorney General is the chief defender of the rule of law in our country. After Alberto Gonzales's troubled tenure, we cannot send a signal that the next Attorney General in any way condones torture or believes that the President is unconstrained by law. When we leave any doubt about our nation’s policy on torture, we send a terrible message to the rest of the world.


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Judiciary Dems Want Mukasey to Condemn Waterboarding

Ten Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey today. You can read it here.

Shorter version: stop mincing words and condemn water boarding:

Your unwillingness to state that waterboarding is illegal may place Americans at risk of being subjected to this abusive technique. If the United States does not explicitly and publicly condemn waterboarding, it will be more difficult to argue that enemy forces cannot waterboard American prisoners. It also makes it more difficult for the United States to condemn repressive governments that use waterboarding on their own citizens. We are particularly troubled by recent reports that the Burmese military has used this form of torture against democracy activists. Human rights abuses such as this have rightly prompted the Administration to impose additional sanctions against the Burmese regime.

Please respond to the following question: Is the use of waterboarding, or inducing the misperception of drowning, as an interrogation technique illegal under U.S. law, including treaty obligations?

My latest thoughts on Mukasey and waterboarding are in a post I wrote this morning for Firedoglake on the mistrial in the terrorism funding charity trial.

Once Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding is torture, he lost his way home. I can just picture him leaving the confirmation hearing. He’s got a piece of the waterboard stuck on the sole of his shoe, like you know what, and no matter how many times he tries to scrape it off, it’s still there. The piece won’t leave Muckasey. It’s there to remind him that he’s one of them now. He’s solid with the Administration’s refusal to promise to discontinue waterboarding.


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Mukasey Confirmation Hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding its confirmation hearing this morning on Michael Mukasey's nomination for Attorney General.

There's very little suspense involved as there is no real opposition to him.

If you're interested in the hearing, you can watch it on C-Span. Here's the Committee webpage with the witness list. There's a panel with Chuck Schumer and Joe Lieberman and another with former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Mary Jo White. That ought to be enough to tell you its a shoe-in.

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Mukasey Expected to Get Quick Confirmation as Attorney General

While the AP is reporting on questions Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey will be asked at his confirmation hearing Wednesday pertaining to detentions, material witness warrants and the like, don't be fooled.

He's headed to a quick confirmation.

Retired federal judge Michael Mukasey is a Republican with a conservative judicial record, yet he appears to have enough support in a Democrat-controlled Congress to assure relatively quick confirmation as attorney general.

Congress watchers, former attorneys general and politicians say Mukasey’s unusual bipartisan appeal stems from his combination of real-world experience, his distance from Washington politics and his independence, making the New York Republican more acceptable to Democrats than higher-profile, conventional conservatives who were considered for the job.

Mukasey will only serve for about 15 months. Whoever is elected in 2009 will appoint a new Attorney General.

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Mukasey and the Material Witness Detentions

This weekend we reported on Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey's endorsement of enhanced interrogation techniques and opposition to closing Guantanamo and some of his rulings on federal sentencing guidelines and his promise to be independent of the White House.

Today, the New York Times has a very unflattering article about his conduct and treatment of material witnesses detained after 9/11.

Let's start with the material witness detentions:

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Newsweek: Mukasey Favors Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

Earlier I wrote about Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey's interviews with Senate Judiciary Committee members in which he professed his independence from the White House.

Michael Isikoff of Newsweek today reports on the same interviews and says Mukasey told the Senators he doesn't think Guantanamo should be closed and he favors enhanced interrogation techniques:

According to three sources, who asked not to be named discussing the private meetings, Mukasey said that he saw "significant problems" with shutting down Guantánamo Bay and that he understood the need for the CIA to use some "enhanced" interrogation techniques against Qaeda suspects. Mukasey also signaled reluctance with naming a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-administration misconduct, according to one participant.

As to Alberto Gonzales, Isikoff reports he's lawyering up.

The departed A.G. is now looking for a private lawyer to represent him, according to two legal sources who asked not to be identified because of the matter's sensitivity.

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AG Nominee Mukasey Once Ruled Sentencing Guidelines Unconstitutional

The Associated Press reports that in 1988, then-Judge Michael Mukasey issued a 15 page opinion declaring the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines unconstitutional. [via Sentencing Law and Policy.]

In his 15-page ruling, much of it written in a sardonic tone, Mukasey belittled the Justice Department's insistence that the guidelines were a function of the executive branch, while the U.S. Sentencing Commission simultaneously claimed them under the judicial branch.

"A survey of the results thus far calls to mind nothing so strongly as the band of blind men describing the elephant variously as a wall, a tree or a rope, depending on which part of the beast they touched," Mukasey wrote.


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Mukasey Accepts AG Position

Update: Here is the text of President Bush's nomination of Judge Mukasey this morning and Judge Mukasey's acceptance.


White House sources said Sunday night Michael Mukasey has accepted President Bush's offer to be our next Attorney General.

What's up with Sen. Charles Schumer? First he touts Mukasey to Bush for both the Supreme Court and the Attorney General's position, and now he's promising a tough confirmation hearing and saying Judge Mukasey only has "potential" to be a consensus nominee?

Schumer said Mukasey will face questions about "important and sensitive issues," such as the controversy over the Bush administration's warrantless electronic surveillance program and the appointments of U.S. attorneys. But he said the former judge "has the potential to become a consensus nominee."

Maybe he should have ascertained the Judge's positions on these issues before he recommended him for the job.


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Michael Mukasey May Be Named AG Monday

Bump and Update: President Bush may announce Mukasey as Attorney General on Monday. Glenn Greenwald has a lot more analysis, particularly on his role in the Padilla case.


Original Post 9/15
Michael Mukasey Floated as AG Replacement

White House officials seem to be testing the name of former U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey for Attorney General. CNN and the AP are reporting he is now the leading candidate.

I've been reading up on him for the past several hours and will present the pros and cons below.

Preliminary assessment: He's independent-minded, extremely experienced and smart, and while more conservative on terror-related issues than I'd like, far too supportive of the Patriot Act and too close to Rudy Giuliani for comfort, he doesn't run rough-shod over defendants' rights. As compared to Ted Olson, Mukasey is an improvement.

So, who is Michael Mukasey? See below.

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