Several sources are confirming that former Federal Judge Michael B Mukaseyis now Bush’s top choice to replace Gonzales. They suggest Bush may nominate him as early as tomorrow (Monday). The sources include William Kristol at the daily Standard.
Mukasey was included on our previous list of candidates being actively considered when we wrote Who’s Up Next to be Bush’s Attorney General?
Mukasey retired in September 2006 after almost two decades as a Federal Judge. He went back to his previous law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His listed areas of practice at the firm include litigation, white collar defense and investigations, media and entertainment and subprime mortgage.
The firm’s website states that:
“During his 18 years of service – including six as Chief Judge – Judge Mukasey presided over thousands of cases, including such high profile trials as that of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 co-defendants, who were charged with plotting to destroy a number of New York City landmarks. He also presided over major cases involving the dispute between Larry Silverstein and his insurers concerning insurance proceeds related to the World Trade Center site and the Motion Picture Association of America’s ban on the distribution of new movies to critics and award panels, among many other notable cases.”
“BORN 1941 in the Bronx
FEDERAL JUDICIAL SERVICE Judge, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York 1987-2006, serving as chief judge from 2000 until retirement
EDUCATION Columbia University, A.B., 1963; Yale Law School,
PROFESSIONAL CAREER Private practice, New York City, 1967-1972
Assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York, 1972-1976 Chief,
Official Corruption Unit, 1975-1976 Private practice, New York City, 1976-1987
RESIDENCES Manhattan and East Hampton”
One interesting post giving insight into Mukasey is that done by Glenn Greenwald today and posted at salon.com entitled “Michael Mukasey’s role in the Jose Padilla case” Greenwald notes that Mukasey was willing to defy Bush and rule based on the law and not on terrorist fears and assertions by Bush without legal basis in the Padilla case.
“Judge Mukasey repeatedly defied the demands of the Bush administration, ruled against them, excoriated them on multiple occasions for failing to comply with his legally issued orders, and ruled that Padilla was entitled to contest the factual claims of the government and to have access to lawyers. He issued these rulings in 2002 and 2003, when virtually nobody was defying the Bush administration on anything, let alone on assertions of executive power to combat the Terrorists. And he made these rulings in the face of what was became the standard Bush claim that unless there was complete acquiescence to all claimed powers by the President, a Terrorist attack would occur and the blood would be on the hands of those who impeded the President. “
Greenwald reminds us however that:
“There is no question that Judge Mukasey, a Reagan appointee who served as the Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York before retiring recently, is close to the far right on the judicial spectrum. He undoubtedly holds many legal and political views which most Democrats would find objectionable, perhaps even intolerable. But that will be true of any nominee Bush selects, and it is true of the current Acting Attorney General, Paul Clement, who will remain in place if no nominee is confirmed.”