Mukasey Judiciary Whip
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Update 11/08: Mukasey was confirmed 53-40 with 6 Democrats (Evan Bayh, Tom Carper, Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Chuck Schumer) voting with 47 Republicans. A filibuster would have been successful but no Senator was willing to lead it.
Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, refuses to acknowledge that waterboarding is torture, even though it was used for torture by the Spanish Inquisition, the Japanese in World War II, and Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. He also insists the President can ignore the law to wiretap American citizens without a warrant. He has thus proven his contempt for the Geneva Conventions, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution itself.
If the United States Senate confirms him as Attorney General, they will become fully complicit in the Bush-Cheney policies of torture and dictatorship.
Of course every single Republican Senator (including Arlen Specter) supports the Bush-Cheney dictatorship and will vote to confirm him.
So we must insist that every Democrat oppose him, starting with the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who can defeat his nomination in committee - as they should have done for John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, not to mention Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Sam Alito.
1. Sign our petition to your Senators and Representative:
2. Call every Democratic Senator [(800) 828 0498 — (800) 459 1887 — (800) 614 2803)] who has not declared opposition with this simple message: No waterboarding, No dictatorship, No Mukasey
3. Sign our petition to all the progressive Senators urging them to lead a filibuster:
Answering GOP Talking Points
- 11/1/07 Bush said it was unfair to ask Mukasey about interrogation techniques on which he has not been briefed. Then brief him, you blithering idiot! Or let him read Wikipedia or watch this video.
- 11/1/07 Bush said "It doesn't make any sense to tell the enemy whether we use those techniques or not." Are the American people "the enemy"?!?
- 10/31/07 Karl Rove's replacement Ed Gillespie told CNN "we don’t know that [waterboarding is] used by the government." But as John Roberts pointed out, Republicans brag about the use of waterboarding on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi.
- 10/31/07 NY Times analysis: If Mukasey declared waterboarding to be torture, those who authorized it would have to be prosecuted as war criminals. Then impeach Bush and Cheney and prosecute them!
- 10/31/07 Lindsay Graham said the Senate voted against outlawing waterboarding so it's legal. There was never an up-or-down vote on waterboarding, but a vote on 9/28/06 to require oversight of CIA "programs" was defeated on a 53-46 party line vote, with all 46 Democrats in favor and all 53 Republicans opposed. As Harry Reid says, "It's already against the law. I don't know we have to ban something that's against the law. If we ban waterboarding, do we next have to ban thumb screws?"
Joe Biden (DE)
Dick Durbin (IL)
- 10/31/07 Senate floor speech: "If we are going to restore the image of the United States of America, the highest law enforcement officer should be clear, firm, unequivocal: that waterboarding and torture are unacceptable, un-American, illegal and unconstitutional."
Russ Feingold (WI)
- 11/4/07 "the country also needs an Attorney General who will tell the President that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress. Unfortunately, Judge Mukasey was unwilling to reject the extreme and dangerous theories of executive power that this administration has put forward. The nation's top law enforcement officer must be able to stand up to a chief executive who thinks he is above the law. The rule of law is too important to our country's history and to its future to compromise on that bedrock principle."
- 11/2/07 "He may be the best nominee we can get from this administration in this respect. But I am concerned about his views on executive power, and I am weighing whether his answers to questions in that area adequately demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law."
Ted Kennedy (MA)
- 11/1/07 floor spech (read/watch): "Waterboarding is torture. Torture is unacceptable. Period. If Michael Mukasey won't stand up to President Bush and tell him that, then he doesn't deserve to be Attorney General... Judge Mukasey's troubling views do not stop at torture. He has shown his support for broad Presidential powers, including the ability to detain U.S. citizens without charges and to collect illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens without a warrant... We should never approve a nominee for Attorney General who rejects the rule of law."
Pat Leahy (VT) - Chair
- 11/6/07 "The president says that we do not torture. But then his lawyers redefine torture, redefine it down, in secret memos, in fundamental conflict with American values and law."
- 11/2/07 "no one, not even the President, is above the law."
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
- 10/31/07 Senate floor speech (read/watch): "Will we join that gloomy historical line leading from the Inquisition, through the prisons of tyrant regimes, through gulags and dark cells, and through Saddam Hussein's torture chambers? Will that be the path we choose?"
Ben Cardin (MD)
Herb Kohl (WI)
Dianne Feinstein (CA)
- 11/5/07 announced support
- 11/1/07 still reviewing
- 10/31/07 to reporters: "I need to think more about it. I very much regret that he couldn't have just been clear and definitive."
- 10/31/07 to constituents: "I voted in favor of sending his nomination to the full Senate. I decided he has the qualifications that I mention to be a judge".
Chuck Schumer (NY)
- 11/5/07 announced support
- 10/31/07 to reporters: "I'm not going to comment on Judge Mukasey here. I'm reading the letter, I'm going over it."
- 10/18/07 Schumer asked Mukasey to brief him on a [waterboarding] study “should you become attorney general – and as you know, I hope you will be.”
Also opposed but not on Judiciary
- "Mr. Mukasey's position that the President does not have to heed the law disqualifies him from being the chief attorney for the United States. We have seen for too long, and at great expense to our national security, an Administration that has systematically attacked the rule of law and turned our Justice Department into a political wing of the White House. I'm afraid that Mr. Mukasey as Attorney General would be more of the same."
- 11/1/07 "Judge Mukasey's refusal to classify the barbaric practice of waterboarding as torture waves a red flag about his nomination to serve an Administration that has adhered to the Cheney doctrine on executive power and torture. I am not comfortable confirming anyone who cannot see that this method of interrogation is antithetical to American values and traditions – especially not to a position that is charged with representing our entire justice system. We need to reestablish faith in the Department of Justice. Many of us wanted to believe that Judge Mukasey could undo the damage of the Gonzales years. Unfortunately his lack of candor and his refusal to acknowledge this abuse of power suggest he is unable or unwilling to do so, and this is why I will be opposing Judge Mukasey's nomination to be the next Attorney General of the United States."
- American Freedom Campaign
- Human Rights Watch