Theodore's World: Bush Picks Mukasey As Attorney General

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September 17, 2007

Bush Picks Mukasey As Attorney General

Bush picks Mukasey as attorney general


President Bush has settled on Michael B. Mukasey, a retired federal judge from New York, to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and will announce his selection Monday, a person familiar with the president's decision said Sunday evening.

Mukasey, who has handled terrorist cases in the U.S. legal system for more than a decade, would become the nation's top law enforcement officer if confirmed by the Senate. Mukasey has the support of some key Democrats, and it appeared Bush was trying to avoid a bruising confirmation battle.

The 66-year-old New York native, who is a judicial adviser to GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, would take charge of a Justice Department where morale is low following months of investigations into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys and Gonzales' sworn testimony on the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program.

Key lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, had questioned Gonzales' credibility and competency after he repeatedly testified that he could not recall key events.

The White House refused to comment Sunday. The person familiar with Bush's decision refused to be identified by name because the nomination had not been officially announced.

Bush supporters say Mukasey, who was chief judge of the high-profile courthouse in Manhattan for six years, has impeccable credentials, is a strong, law-and-order jurist, especially on national security issues, and will restore confidence in the Justice Department.

Bush critics see the Mukasey nomination as evidence of Bush's weakened political clout as he heads into the final 15 months of his presidency. It's unclear how Senate Democrats will view Mukasey's credentials, but early indications are that he will face less opposition than a more hardline, partisan candidate like Ted Olson, who was believed to have been a finalist.

Mukasey has received past endorsements from Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is from Mukasey's home state. And in 2005, the liberal Alliance for Justice put Mukasey on a list of four judges who, if chosen for the Supreme Court, would show the president's commitment to nominating people who could be supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

"While he is certainly conservative, Judge Mukasey seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House, our most important criteria," Schumer said Sunday. "He's a lot better than some of the other names mentioned and he has the potential to become a consensus nominee."

Last week, some Senate Democrats threatened to block the confirmation of Olson, who represented Bush before the Supreme Court in the contested 2000 election. Democratic senators have theorized that Bush might nominate Mukasey, in part, because he wanted to avoid a bruising confirmation battle.

The possibility that Bush would pick Mukasey, however, angered some supporters on the GOP's right flank, who have given Mukasey less-than-enthusiastic reviews. Some legal conservatives and Republican activists have expressed reservations about Mukasey's legal record and past endorsements from liberals, and were drafting a strategy to oppose his confirmation even before it became known that Bush had chosen him.

Wild Thing's comment........

Why turn this into a rocket science project? I still think that John Bolton would do a good job in that position. Put in as AG on a recess appointment, the Donks would go ballistic.

Gonzales was a pro-illegal alien advocate. I wonder where this guy stands on the Illegal issue? Anybody know?

Posted by Wild Thing at September 17, 2007 12:45 AM


We'll just have to wait and see.
Hopefully, he'll be tough as nails since he's worked on the terrorism cases.

Posted by: Lynn at September 17, 2007 04:42 AM

Endorsed by Chuck Schumer and an advisor to Rudy Giuliana tells me all I need to know. I bet Mukasey is soft on illegal immigration. Presidential legacy making at work here.

Yes WT, John Bolton would be a shot of conservative power drink. Schumer would be stuttering abd Hillary would be in hot flash mode.

Posted by: TomR at September 17, 2007 04:55 AM

Another Janet Reno, eh? So much for Bud Olson! Why not Sen. Orrin Hatch?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at September 17, 2007 05:07 AM

Another RINO.

Posted by: BobF at September 17, 2007 07:05 AM

I think Bush is running scared of Chuckie Schumer and the rest of the Leftist Elite. If Schmuckie likes this guy then he will be soft on immigration and they have not learned nothing from the big backlash against the Comprehensive Immigration Bill.

I think we are the last of a dying breed the real conservative.

Posted by: Mark at September 17, 2007 10:33 AM

Since Bob beat me to it I agree. He's a Bush choice, less obvious than a Mel Martinez.

Posted by: Jack at September 17, 2007 12:48 PM

This is the devil in the details of compassionate conservatism. If you have to modify "conservatism", it isn't conservatism.

Moreover, any conservatism which is compassionate requires big government to fulfill its need to be compassionate, which means that compassionate conservatism is just Bush form of liberalism.

Bush is more liberal than Bill Clinton, and Bush needs to turn the other cheek to please his opposition. We need religious people in public life, but not religion, which is what we got with Bush.

Posted by: Rhod at September 17, 2007 01:24 PM

Lynn, true, but it sure makes me nervous when I heard also today that Reid I think it was says he would be ok. yikes.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Tom, LMAO I love it....."John Bolton would be a shot of conservative power drink. Schumer would be stuttering and Hillary would be in hot flash mode."

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:01 AM

Darth, yes it sure did last long the suggestion of Olson. Not even a week.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:03 AM

Bob, it seems Bush just wants to give in.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:04 AM

Mark....."I think we are the last of a dying breed the real conservative."........ I think we are.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:05 AM

Jack, he is less obvious then Martinez. Good way to put it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:10 AM

Rhod, well there it is, just exaclty what you said.

I wish Bush would turn his other check in our direction. But that is a fantasty not reality.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 18, 2007 12:14 AM