Who is Michael Mukasey, the retired federal judge from New York chosen by President Bush as his third attorney general? Not a “movement conservative,” says the New York Times. He was not Bush's first choice, but he would defend the administration on the issue that matters most to the president, national security. Th White House seemed confident that he would win confirmation in the Senate.
Mukasey, 66, has endorsed provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the law passed by Congress after 9/11 to grant wide new law-enforcement power to the executive branch. The measure has been universally condemned by civil liberties groups. “That awkward name may very well be the worst thing about the statute,” he said in 2004. Mary Jo White, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan under President Bill Clinton, said Mukasey would bring “instantaneous institutional respect” to the Justice Department “because of how he is, who he is and what he is.” Mantattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said, “I think it's an excellent choice, and I think he should, if given a free hand, do a lot to restore integrity and public confidence in the Department of Justice.”