12:00pm Eastern. From Sen. John Cornyn’s office…
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement Monday regarding the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to serve as Attorney General of the United States:
“In recent months, my Democratic colleagues have loudly voiced their belief that partisan politics has no place at the Department of Justice. With today’s nomination and forthcoming confirmation process of Judge Mukasey, they will have an opportunity to demonstrate that.
“I am examining Judge Mukasey’s record and will continue to do so in the days ahead. But early indications are that he is a respected, experienced jurist who has a strong reputation for honesty and integrity. He deserves a fair and prompt hearing by the Senate.”
President Bush is introducing his attorney general nominee in just a few minutes. Update: Bush urges lawmakers to approve Mukasey “quickly.”
He’s got some worrisome left-wing supporters (or rather, non-opposers), including Charles Schumer and Nan Aron. Here’s the always candid Mark Levin’s take:
There was a candidate who was both a top legal mind and well-established conservative with years of experience at the Justice Department, and his name is Ted Olson. He was passed over for apparently practical and political reasons, including the fact that Schumer and Aron would oppose him (not to mention Reid). So, I am not prepared to delude myself into believing that Mukasey was the best choice. He may be acceptable, but that’s different.
Time magazine: “How Bush’s AG Pick Irritates the Right.”
If the administration was trying to avoid a fight with the left over the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales’ replacement as Attorney General, they may have succeeded with the nomination of former New York district judge, Michael Mukasey. The question now is whether they’ll have a fight with the right. Both in Mukasey himself, and in the process by which he picked him, Bush has gone against the right, spurning their favored choice, engaging with — and conceding to — Democrats, and naming a New Yorker who is an unknown quantity on many of the social issues about which they care most deeply.
Through weeks of quiet deliberation, Bush abandoned the confrontational pronouncements to which Congress has grown accustomed. Instead, White House counsel Fred Fielding reached out to Democrats, including Bush’s constant opponent Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who had previously recommended Mukasey as a Supreme Court nominee. Schumer and Fielding went so far as to discuss names, and Mukasey’s came up. “We’re in an alternate universe,” says one Senate aide, “Charles Schumer saying something nice about a guy used to be the kiss of death.”
The administration also adopted the Clinton-like process of trial ballooning: leaking names through allies to see how much of a storm would ensue. For the better part of last week, the name of conservative darling and respected lawyer, former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, was on everyone’s lips in Washington. But strong pushback from Democrats, including Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, who said he’d torpedo an Olson nomination, apparently sank his chances. “Olson would’ve been a bloodbath,” says the Senate aide.
But in dropping Olson and going with Mukasey, Bush has opened himself up to attack from the right. Conservatives are worried about Mukasey’s 1994 denial of asylum for a Chinese man who said his wife had been forced to have an abortion under that country’s one-child law, which they say indicates he’s weak on pro-life issues. And though he has consistently ruled with the administration on a number of important and high-profile terrorism cases, Mukasey broke with them in an early, crucial ruling, saying that American citizen Jose Padilla had a right to a lawyer, no matter what his status in the war on terror. [MM: The asylum denial doesn’t bother me on its face. The Padilla ruling does.] Mukasey is also very close to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom social conservatives distrust.
Ragnar at The Jawa Report asks if we’re about to see the Second Coming of Harriet Miers.
Allah shares what he knows and calls this a “good pick.” I hope so.
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