Mukasey’s nomination and the sudden opposition to "waterboarding"


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Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy Says He Will Not Support Mukasey AG Nomination

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Friday he won’t support Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, potentially derailing his confirmation over complaints that he hasn’t taken a full enough stand against torture.

“No American should need a classified briefing to determine whether waterboarding is torture,” said U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. He planned an afternoon news conference to make the announcement in Burlington.

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On one level, it is, I suppose, a good sign that there is some opposition to the confirmation of Michael Mukasey due to what ought to be his completely unacceptable positions on torture and more generally on executive power. But it’s difficult to avoid some deep ambivalence about the whole spectacle.

It is absolutely the case that Mukasey is a True Believer in all of the most extreme positions of the Bush administration regarding presidential power. That has been clear from the beginning. It is why he was chosen. After all, as a federal judge, he ruled that the President has the power to detain American citizens on U.S. soil indefinitely without ever having to charge them with a crime — a position he more or less repeated on the first day of his confirmation hearing.

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