Attorney General

Mukasey Backed Terrorism Fight

Michael Mukasey has no public record on many issues of importance to movement conservatives, but he’s viewed as supporting the war on terrorism.

A retired judge who is President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Mukasey has supported the administration’s assertion of broad powers in terrorism cases, the New York Times reports. In particular he has supported electronic surveillance of suspects and detention of material witnesses.

Mukasey also upheld the detention of Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant, a decision that was later overturned. However he did rule against the administration on one point, holding that Padilla had a right to a lawyer.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports on one case in which Mukasey sentenced a defendant to 35 years in prison for conspiring to bomb New York landmarks. The defendant’s lawyer had protested that his client was just a simple-minded follower. “People who are killed by people with limited capacity are just as dead,” Mukasey replied.

Lawyers told both publications they consider Mukasey to be fair and even-handed. White House officials told the Washington Post that “confirmability” was a factor considered by President Bush in his selection of Mukasey. They are seeking confirmation by Oct. 8. The Post concludes in a separate story that despite his successes, Mukasey “has not displayed a driving ambition or political nature.”

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