Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Retired federal judge Michael Mukasey will be sworn in today as the nation’s 81st attorney general in a low-key ceremony at the Justice Department. Mukasey was confirmed by the Senate late Thursday on a 53-40 vote. Six Democrats and 46 Republicans voted to confirm him. The vote was one of the narrowest ever for an attorney general nominee. Justice officials said Mukasey’s swearing-in today will allow him to handle official documents during the weekend and get briefings from senior Justice officials right away. A public swearing-in ceremony will not take place until next week. Key supporters, such as Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who had broken ranks with Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee two days earlier, said they voted for him because the alternatives to Mukasey were much worse, in that the president could fill the post with a recess appointment. They also said Mukasey reassured them that he would enforce any law Congress passed specifically addressing waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning and that many regard as illegal. “This is the best chance we have,” Feinstein said during a four-hour debate over the nomination Thursday, which ended with the vote at about 11:30 p.m. Mukasey had been widely praised after his nomination by President George W. Bush on Sept. 17 as a respected jurist with vast legal experience. But Mukasey ran into trouble on his second day of confirmation hearings, when he refused to say whether waterboarding constitutes torture. The technique involves pouring water on the covered face of a bound detainee. In follow-up answers to written questions, Mukasey said he found the practice “repugnant” but was reluctant to equate it with torture because he had yet to be briefed on the classified program. He also said he didn’t want to divulge any information that may aid the enemy or let his “uninformed” opinion influence the work of government interrogators. Mukasey, 66, also was criticized throughout the confirmation hearings for his expansive views on presidential powers and the extent of executive privilege. Mukasey was a federal prosecutor and a white-collar attorney before President Ronald Reagan tapped him in 1987 to become a federal judge in New York’s busy Southern District. He became the chief judge in 2000 and retired last year to rejoin the New York firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez can be contacted at [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.