Updating from my earlier dairy on Attorney General Nominee Mukasey, Ward Harkavy at the Village Voice has more on the A@#$hole that is Mukasey:
In a previously unreported episode, U.S. Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey praised the “remarkable character” of notorious Brooklyn businessman Nat Schlesinger after Schlesinger was convicted of arson in a blaze that nearly killed a New York City firefighter. . . .
This isn’t part of Mukasey’s dim past; it happened last year.
Marc Stern of the ardently pro-Israel American Jewish Congress (emphasis added):
Mukasey presided over the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in a case involving the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and ruled in the controversial case involving Jose Padilla, charged in a “dirty bomb” plot.
Mukasey, while differing with the Bush administration on some details, earned a reputation as a forceful defender of the controversial legal procedures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism.
“He has not been a rubber stamp for the administration’s policies on terrorism but he is a very deep skeptic about the law’s ability to cope with terrorism,” said Stern. “He doesn’t take the reflective response of civil libertarians that the only way to fight terrorism is through the ordinary legal system. The only question is whether he goes too far the other way.”
Now that is interesting: a judge who is a “very deep skeptic” about the legal process concerning terror suspects. . . .
Bottom line, according to Harkavy:
Picking Mukasey as AG should help the GOP and Rudy and should scare civil libertarians:
Here’s the bad news: Mukasey is potentially far more hazardous to our civil liberties than Alberto Gonzales ever was. Gonzales was a dumb-ass, and Mukasey is very sharp.
And, in the same article, Harkavy goes back to that should be notorious Wall Street Journal op-ed where Mukasey disses the Bill of Rights because, after all it was just tacked on as an afterthought to the really important stuff stating the government’s powers:
So, as the historian Walter Berns has argued, the built-in message – the hidden message in the structure of the Constitution – is that the government it establishes is entitled, at least in the first instance, to receive from its citizens the benefit of the doubt. If we keep that in mind, then the spirit of liberty will be the spirit which, if it is not too sure that it is right, is at least sure enough to keep itself – and us – alive.
Of course, it’s the government that determines what measures are required to “keep us alive.” This is one scary lawyer, or as Ben Franklin said:
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
All evidenced in spades in the Senate hearings, before which the Dems had already capitulated, of course. Note these two latest headlines:
The second one starts out:
President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey, declined Thursday to say if he considered harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to constitute torture or to be illegal if used on terrorism suspects.
On the second day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Mukasey went further than he had the day before in arguing that the White House had constitutional authority to act beyond the limits of laws enacted by Congress, especially when it came to national defense.
He suggested that both the administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, including waterboarding, might be acceptable under the Constitution even if they went beyond what the law technically allowed. Mr. Mukasey said the president’s authority as commander in chief might allow him to supersede laws written by Congress.
But hey, Chuck Schumer loves the asshole, so that’s it, I guess.
No, I got it: Dailykos, Make Some Noise! . . . . [crickets chirping cliche]