Drop Kick Mukasey

Pamela’s already noted that John Kerry is opposing him. Now it’s time for the principled stance everyone has been babbling about for other Democrats to take in the year since they regained power and torpedo the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for AG. Now.

“In a letter to the 10 Democrats on the committee, Mr. Mukasey refused to say whether he considered waterboarding (a method of extracting information by making a prisoner believe he is about to be drowned) to be torture. He said he found it “repugnant,” but could not say whether it is illegal until he has been briefed on the interrogation programs that Mr. Bush authorized at Central Intelligence Agency prisons. This is a crass dodge.”

It’s more than that. Today his Republican toadies in the Senate, including President Doofus himself, are saying that he can’t answer the question because if he responds in the affirmative, he would create a “potential legal quagmire for the Bush administration: criminal prosecution or lawsuits against Central Intelligence Agency officers who used the harsh interrogation practice and those who authorized it.”

Said Bush, “He doesn’t know whether we use that technique or not. Further, it doesn’t make any sense to tell an enemy what we’re doing.

Way to go. By saying “he doesn’t know whether we use it or not” Bush just confirmed to our “enemies” that we do waterboard; for if we didn’t, he would never have qualified it as such.

A better “defense” (if there is one) comes from Arlen Specter who said, “The facts are that an expression of an opinion by Judge Mukasey prior to becoming attorney general would put a lot of people at risk for what has happened.”

Nonsense. An “expression of an opinion”? He isn’t the AG, nor would he have been sworn in when he offered an opinion as such. The man is simply being asked whether Waterboarding is a form of torture, not creating Justice Department policy as such.

But let’s say for a moment that this is true:

“Scott L. Silliman, an expert on national security law at Duke University School of Law, said any statement by Mr. Mukasey that waterboarding was illegal torture “would open up Pandora’s box,” even in the United States. Such a statement from an attorney general would override existing Justice Department legal opinions and create intense pressure from human rights groups to open a criminal investigation of interrogation practices, Mr. Silliman said.

You would ask not just who carried it out, but who specifically approved it,” said Mr. Silliman, director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke. “Theoretically, it could go all the way up to the president of the United States; that’s why he’ll never say it’s torture,” Mr. Silliman said of Mr. Mukasey.

Quite simply, there is your reason to kill the nomination. As the Times editorial notes, “The only information Mr. Mukasey can possibly be lacking is whether Mr. Bush broke the law by authorizing the C.I.A. to use waterboarding — a judgment that the White House clearly does not want him to render in public because it could expose a host of officials to criminal accountability.”

So he’s not answering in order to either A. keep toeing the administration line regarding Waterboarding’s ongoing use, or B. he’s already protecting the president from criminal prosecution for Bush’s criminal conduct, a role that is specifically not the Attorney General’s.

The role of the AG is to enforce the laws of the United States on everyone subject to its jurisdiction, including the President of the United States. Voting for Mukasey is voting for putting the president above the law.

And no one is above the law in this country, not even Doofus and his “unitary executive” harem who think they can make laws disappear with signing statements in “times of war”.

Cross posted from AoF

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5 Responses to Drop Kick Mukasey

  1. Pingback: Drop Kick Mukasey | Political news - democrats republicans socialists greens liberals conservatives

  2. ironxl84 says:

    Military Waterboarding Training Video:


    Now what is so goddamned confusing here?
    It is TORTURE. Period.

    Not only has Bush failed to uphold his oath of office, but he is still trying to play games with the Geneva Conventions.

    Mukasey must not be confirmed.


  3. Darrell Prows says:

    Deference to the President on the subject of his appointments is an important precedent. However, this is still politics, and there is and should be a political component to this process.
    Real Presidents, really acting like Presidents are supposed to should be allowed, largely, to pick their own team. When we have instances, as here, where any particular occupant of The Whitehouse has shown scorn for the people, the Constitution, and the Congress for seven years of an eight year term, differentiation is not only appropriate, but mandatory for the system to function correctly.

    Congress should never openly harass a President who has not lost the popular support of the country. Nor should Congress roll over for a President who has almost no standing in any eyes but his own.

    The call is not to reject Mukasey just because he was selected by Bush. The correct call, however, is to view him with an extremely jaundiced eye, and let Bush have no appointment who is not clearly one of the most qualified persons to ever fill that particular position. No one would look at Mukasey and say that he is clearly of the caliber of, say, Robert Kennedy, or any of the other giants who have served this nation as Attorney General. Given that the people have already made it abundantly clear that it is time for this administration to start winding down its perverse form of government, and Mukasey exemplifies at least most of the past abuses, his appointment must be defeated, by what ever means necessary.

    Leadership demands no less.

  4. Darrell, well said. Fundamentally, you are right in that the president should have the power to select his cabinet with people of his own choosing, and the congress should, fundamentally, get out of the way and confirm those team members.

    But as you also point out, this president has destroyed the credibility of the office, to the point that any action he takes, including appointing a cabinet member, should be viewed suspiciously and, if necessary, defeated. This is definitely the case with Mukasey.

    Under any other “normal” circumstances, I would say Mukasey is probably well-qualified for the job. But if his marching orders are to defend the president, rather than enforce the law, *all* laws, then his confirmation must be defeated.

    Are we a country of laws or of men (women)? That’s how this vote should be framed.

  5. john stone says:

    I agree with what Darrell Prows wrote and also with what Todd Mitchell wrote. This man knows the law,but the fear is that he seems to want to enforce the law ,only if it is what Bush wants.
    Our Democratic Senators are correct!
    How many times has Bush burned the American people?