Back in September, I had the initial impression that Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey might be a welcome change from Ashcroft’s reign of idiocy and Gonzalez’ reign of “situational ethics” (in other words no ethics. See Attorney General Nominee Mukasey on Trademarks and the First Amendment.
Of course, I predicted that A-Gonz would be a decent Attorney General, and look how that panned out.
Nevertheless, the more I hear about Mukasey, the more I like the guy.
Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey said Wednesday the president doesn’t have the authority to use torture techniques against terrorism suspects, a stance not taken by predecessor Alberto Gonzales and considered key to the nominee’s confirmation.
Even better than that:
Under questioning by Leahy, Mukasey promised to bar all but the top Justice employees from taking calls or making calls “to political figures to talk about cases,” a problem under Gonzales.
“Partisan politics plays no part in either the bringing of charges or the timing of charges,” Mukasey said.
That ought to piss off a few of the “focus on the family” types who have whined incessantly that Americans should go to prison for First Amendment protected speech.
It gets better…
And under questioning from the panel’s senior Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Mukasey said he’d have no problem resigning if the president ignores his legal or ethical reservations about administration policy.
“I would try to talk him out of it or leave,” Mukasey replied, his American flag lapel pin mirroring Specter’s.
In the same situation, A-Gonz would have fellated Bush rather than tell him that he was wrong about anything.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Mukasey’s home state of New York, said he already had heard the answer he wanted in a private meeting with Mukasey a day earlier. Schumer said he asked the nominee, “Will you have the courage to look squarely into the eyes of the president of the United States and tell him ‘no,’ if that is your best legal and ethical judgment?”
Mukasey, Schumer said, replied: “Absolutely. That is what I am there for.”
Could it be? Could the dark years be coming to an end?