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Will Bush's New AG Nominee Respect Our Constitutional Rights?

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According to a report by the Associated Press, George W. Bush is going to announce today (on Constitution Day, coincidentally) that he has selected Michael B. Mukasey, a retired federal judge from New York, to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.

So I decided to do a little digging into Mukasey's background. First I learned that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had recommended Mukasey as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court, as well as for the AG gig. So maybe he's not so bad.

I also learned that Mukasey had heard the trial of Jose Padilla. He ruled that Padilla could be held as an enemy combatant (not so good), but that Padilla was entitled to see his lawyers (good).

Then I read an op-ed that Mukasey had written in the Wall Street Journal about the Padilla case. While dressed in all kinds of legalese, the piece made me uncomfortable. It seems that Mukasey was advocating for secret evidence and other restrictions on a defendant's Constitutional rights and civil liberties. Will he be another enabler of the Bush administration's policy in which national "security" trumps the rule of law?

Read the op-ed and decide for yourself: Jose Padilla Makes Bad Law

And remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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