Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Judge Mukasey is going through Senate confirmation hearings this week in his quest to become the next Attorney General. Judging by TPM Cafe's video and his own words, he's scoring some points.
Congress should find new ways to relieve "a strained and mismatched legal system" that cannot adequately stop terrorist plots while guarding the rights of those suspected of hatching them.
Notice he said "Congress", the very body deciding his future right now. One possible reason why Bush felt the need to circumvent that grand deliberative body was their well-known tendencies to over-deliberate from a partisan perspective. Look at it this way--when the chips are on the line should we trust our lives completely to a bunch of pompous windbags with re-elections coming up?

Take the anthrax attack for example. If one refuses to believe they were 1) perpetrated by the government or 2) by the military industrial complex, then the president had both hands full while unicycling on a tightrope shortly after 9/11 (add Tenet's revelation for further effect). This is all too quickly forgotten by the crowd calling him der Fuhrer and even by our own media.

Indeed, perhaps the Founders didn't assign the Commander-in-Chief function to the House Speaker for a reason. Cheney has been making the executive powers argument for years, something the left and media have successfully demonized (complete with the ominous soundtrack). However, in an age of instant communications, worldwide travel, and WMDs, it's an argument worth having and judge Mukasey seems engaged.

After all, he's got quite the background, including his stint as the presiding judge over the Blind Sheikh case, Jose Padilla's detainment status, and the Moussaoui evidence. The Rahman case in particular illustrated the tenuous nature of trying terrorists within our constitutional system.

Back in 1995 the government was saying Rahman was the mastermind of the 1993 WTC attack and Holland and Lincoln tunnel plots while simultaneously saying Yousef was also a mastermind. As the New York Times asked at the time, "Can Two Masterminds Exist?".
"Whoever the Fifth Battalion is, it ain't the Sheik," said John H. Jacobs, a lawyer for one of the defendants. "And it sure is not our defendants." But Andrew McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutors in the current trial, have called the argument silly.
Amazingly, the defense team for the Blind Sheikh alleged Yousef was an Iraqi agent working on behalf of Saddam to exact revenge for the Gulf War. Remember that? Neither do I. The defense wanted all kinds of evidence dug up on Yousef to make their case, most of which Mukasey disallowed. With lawyers like Lynne Stewart involved in the mix the balancing act becomes quite clear.

The judge seems to have some ideas about how to better approach the problem so hopefully he can lead us to a workable solution that satisfies nearly everyone, with the exception of the evil-doers, of course.

MORE 10/18/07

Wow, what a disappointing day it must have been for those who thought Mr. Mukasey might actually be aligned with the liberal attack dogs trying to get Bush. The interviewee was grilled about torture, torture, torture today yet failed to give the requisite responsive to the grand inquisitors, prompting retorts such as this one from Leahy, "(I'm) troubled by your answer. I see a loophole big enough to drive a truck through." or Russ Feingold, who referred to one response as a "disturbing view."

Mukasey's view on presidential powers vis a vis things like the TSP or other extraordinary measures was brought to light with this response,
"the president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law....The president doesn't stand above the law. But the law emphatically includes the Constitution."
Not a lawyer or scholar, but he seems to be taking Bush's side.

No comments: