National Public Radio opines that Michael B. Mukasey’s priority as Attorney General will be to “reform” laws that interfere with the imprisonment of terrorists. Censorship forbids the embedded reporters at NPR to talk about the real main event on the next AG’s card: to root out and punish racketeers in the Justice Department and the rest of the executive branch.
A former judge, now liberated from the constraints of judicial decorum, Mukasey’s become a favorite of the neo-Fascist crowd, and no wonder. In an opinion piece a few weeks ago he advocated congressional action to make it easier for the government to spy on us, to conduct trials in secret, and to imprison people without recourse to legal process. As a judge, he had to respect the rule of law. As a private lawyer, he repudiates it.
Mukasey may be trying to make amends for the case of Jose Padilla, who was tortured and held without legal process for three years until Judge Mukasey ordered the government to try him or release him. The law, which Attorney Mukasey now excoriates, obliged Judge Mukasey to rule as he did. His recent dash to the right exposes him as a radical ideologue and an enemy of the rule of law, no longer bound by Constitutional principles
Recent rhetoric notwithstanding, Mukasey has high-ranking friends in both political parties and a reputation for fair-mindedness as a judge. That’s all the more reason that Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the committee considering Mukasey’s nomination, should, as a matter of constitutional principle, condition approval of the nominee on a pledge to bring his predecessor to justice. Perjury was the least of Alberto Gonzales’ crimes, and his successor is legally bound to prosecute him. The rehabilitation of the Justice Department and the rule of law requires no less. A further promise should be exacted from Mukasey to name a special counsel to investigate the president and vice-president for their part in the scheme to obstruct justice with politics.