The Commonwealth Comment

Sunday, November 04, 2007

All Wet

President Bush has tapped Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales Attorney General of the United States. Mukasey has served 18 years as a judge in New York's Southern District Court. 6 of those years were as Chief Judge. However, the man George W. Bush hoped would have breezed through Senate confirmation has hit a snag.

Some members of the Senate are disturbed by Mukasey's vague opinion on the government's use of water-boarding. Water-boarding is when a suspect is brought to the brink of drowning in order to get information.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has announced the committee will likely put the nomination to vote on November 6th. Leahy also announced he would vote against Mukasey's nomination based on his answers on torture. "I am eager to restore strong leadership and independence to the Department of Justice. I like Michael Mukasey. I wish that I could support his nomination. But I cannot. America needs to be certain and confident of the bedrock principle -- deeply embedded in our laws and our values -- that no one, not even the president, is above the law," he said.

Hours later two key Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) proclaimed their support of the President's candidate. If all of the committee's Republican members vote in favor of Mukasey, which they are expected to, he would move on to a full Senate vote. With such small majority of Democrats in the Senate, and at least two of them voting in favor of Mukasey, it is likely he will be confirmed by the Senate and become the next Attorney General. If the vote comes to a 50-50 tie, Vice President Dick Cheney would cast the deciding vote. In either scenario Mukasey is confirmed.

As of November 1st, 5 Senators (not counting Leahy) have come out in opposition to Mukasey's confirmation. Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry (D-MA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Joseph Biden (D-DE), and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) all plan to vote against the nomination because of the controversial stance on torture.

My Opinion: This man should not be confirmed as Attorney General. With Mukasey I feel we will simply see more of the same; looking the other way or interpreting the law and Constitution differently (as the President sees/breaks it). Water-boarding is a terrible form of torture and it should not be used on any human being. It is both inhumane and ineffective. Prisoners will say anything to get the torture to stop. This is not the way the United States should go about collecting intelligence. The United States is better than this, and the Justice Department is better than Micahel Mukasey. Shame on any Senators that vote in favor of this nominee and this medieval form of torture.


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