We need an Attorney General who has the strength to challenge this Administration when it is wrong, who is committed to reestablishing the independence of the Department of Justice and to restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. I am deeply troubled by Judge Mukasey’s continued unwillingness to clearly state his views on torture and unchecked Executive power.
The Attorney General is the chief defender of the rule of law in our country. After Alberto Gonzales’s troubled tenure, we cannot send a signal that the next Attorney General in any way condones torture or believes that the President is unconstrained by law. When we leave any doubt about our nation’s policy on torture, we send a terrible message to the rest of the world. Judge Mukasey has been given ample opportunity – both at his confirmation hearings and in his subsequent submission to the Judiciary Committee – to clarify his answers and categorically oppose the unacceptable interrogation techniques employed by this Administration. His failure to do so leaves me no choice but to oppose his nomination.
We need to restore the nation’s confidence in the Department of Justice. The Department must once again defend our Constitution and the rule of law without regard to ideology and partisanship. And we need to protect the country from terrorism while also respecting Americans’ civil liberties.
Responding to the threat of several Democrats to block the Mukasey nomination unless he gave a straight answer about waterboarding, Paul Powertool said:
[T]he case for not taking waterboarding off the table is sound, and a potential political winner, so it might make sense to call their bluff.
Looks like it wasn’t a “bluff” any more than it was a “political winner.”
Time’s blog of the year, ladies and gentlemen.