over the weekend, senator
patrick leahy set the record
straight about the mukasey nom-
ination. actually, if cheney/bush/
mukasey seek to expedite his con-
firmation, judge mukasey would
do well to start by immediately
and definitively responding — in
plain english, this time — to the
eleven separate senators’ letters
requesting clarifications, each laced
with different concerns about his
apparently self-contradictory, or
slyly-shaded answers and statements
offered during the october 18-19 hearings. . .
Reaction Of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
To The President’s Comments
About The Senate’s Consideration
Of The Mukasey NominationOctober 27, 2007
The Senate is evaluating this nomination fairly, thoroughly and responsibly in keeping with the way other major nominations are handled. Judge Mukasey’s written responses to questions from Republicans and Democrats, responses which the Committee has not yet received, are critical in the consideration of his nomination. As Chairman, I will work to ensure that both Republicans and Democrats receive answers to these important questions.Over the last six years, the White House has become accustomed to thinking that they run the Senate, but those days are over. This is a key position in a Justice Department that has become increasingly politicized, and it comes at a crucial juncture for the Department. In order to be able to make an informed judgment, the Senate will take the time that requires on this nomination – no more, and no less.
WHITE HOUSE ASSERTION: White House press secretary Dana Perino this week criticized the Judiciary Committee for not completing the Mukasey hearings in a single day.
FACT: Two-day confirmation hearings are not unusual for nominations to major Cabinet positions. And it was only on the second day of Judge Mukasey’s confirmation hearings that he departed from the broad assurances he had given members of the Judiciary Committee and the American people on such important topics as torture policy and executive power.
WHITE HOUSE ASSERTION: The President and White House aides have complained that the Senate has not yet voted on the Mukasey nomination.
FACT: The confirmation process is proceeding under standard Committee practice, and has even been expedited at several points. After the hearings were concluded on Oct. 18, senators were given one week to review the hearing transcript and submit written questions. That deadline was Thursday, Oct. 25. It now is the nominee’s responsibility to respond to those questions.
In contrast to the Senate’s methodical and responsible handling of this nomination, the White House allowed the Justice Department to languish, rudderless, for months while keeping former Attorney General Gonzales in the job, and while stonewalling congressional efforts to investigate Justice Department scandals.