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Attorney General Mukasey and the Rule of Law

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Mukasey speaking at the Center for Law & Counterterrorism. 01/24/2007 Image & Video

Reigning in the Lawless White House

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, D.C.

Attorney General nominee, Judge Michael B. Mukasey was under FBI protection for 11 years due to threats after presiding over major terrorist trials. Commenting on the FBI’s decision to end protection even though some safety concerns remained, the judge said, “I’m not complaining. I rather like it, being normal.”

A review of his legal history portrays Judge Mukasey as a highly intelligent and capable jurist who stands his ground and displays sympathy for the underdog. His writing outside of court reveals a traditional conservative bias with a willingness to engage in dialog.

New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) suggested him for attorney general. Schumer told reporters, “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 is a major figure in both the Senate and national Democratic Party leadership. Ironically, Schumer is probably more responsible than any for the job opening as a result of his skilled interrogation of the former Attorney General.

What more does it take to get approved? But approval is not the issue.

The U.S. Attorney General v. A Lawless Administration

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The real concern is simple. Can this nominee reign in and stop the ongoing illegal acts of the Bush-Cheney administration? The White House sat idly by while Enron, run by a major Bush contributor, created a fake energy crisis in California and took billions of dollars from helpless citizens in a matter of months. They neglected their duties while people starved and died in New Orleans. They stood by while financial institutions more than doubled their profits with payment and other policies seemingly designed to produce high penalties.

All that pales by comparison to the Iraq War. There are nearly 4,000 Americans casualties plus tens of thousands injured for life. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University published in 2004 placed Iraqi civilian deaths at 600,000. This month, a British polling group reported that the figure has risen to 1,000,000 civilian deaths. These staggering figures refer to people, civilian non combatants, who would be alive were it not for the Bush-Cheney invasion.

There are now signs that Bush-Cheney planning for a strike against Iran. That would result in even more dead and injured based on justifications as vacant as those used for the Iraq invasion.

All this leads to the key question. What can we expect from Judge Mukasey as the United States Attorney General?

The Judge’s Big Cases

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Let’s look at how he handled two very big cases.

In 2002, Jose Padilla, a U.S. Citizen, was arrested as a material witness and eventually charged with terrorist activities. Judge Mukasey issued the order for the arrest and detention. Yet the White House objected to the man even having an attorney. They argued intensely that Padilla must be denied legal counsel since any attorney-client contact would result in the defendant leaking information to associates through his attorney.

Mukasey was a judge of the U. S.. District Court, Southern District of New York, a position that he held for nearly two decades. He ruled that Padilla had the right to counsel; the right to see and work with a lawyer. His 2002 ruling was clear.

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