It’s official. The president has nominated retired federal judge Michael Mukasey, 66, to serve as attorney general.
In a brief appearance in the White House Rose Garden this morning, Bush said that Mukasey “knows what it takes to fight this war effectively, and he knows how to do it in a manner that's consistent with our laws and our Constitution."
Mukasey, standing next to Bush, told reporters that the Justice Department “faces challenges vastly different from those it faced when I was an assistant U.S. attorney 35 years ago, according to the WaPo. But he said the "principles that guide the department remain the same: to pursue justice by enforcing the law with unswerving fidelity to the Constitution."
And now a few words from the interest groups…
The Alliance for Justice just released this statement: “The nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to the post of attorney general is a step in the right direction. Thus far, he has shown independence and a willingness to stand up to this administration. However, no nominee comes with the presumption of confirmation. The Senate must scrutinize his record, and Judge Mukasey must provide meaningful answers to senators’ questions.
“This nomination comes at a time when the Department of Justice is in disarray and has lost much respect both at home and abroad. Judge Mukasey must guarantee that he can and will: adhere to the rule of law; balance national security concerns with rights and liberties; promote the nomination of fair and independent judges; put the interests of Americans ahead of the interests of the president; and cooperate with the United States Congress.
People for the American Way has this to say:
“Mukasey appears to be a conservative republican, not a right wing ideologue, and a person who has demonstrated respect for the rule of law,” says Ralph Neas, the group’s president.
Neas says he is impressed by the “uniformity of generally positive reactions" to Mukasey’s nomination. “There are a lot of issues regarding his administrative experience,” that will sort themselves out during Senate questioning, he predicts.
Here’s the White House release on the nomination. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told the WaPo that Bush extended the job offer on Friday, after meeting with Mukasey on Sept. 1. Assistant Attorney General Peter D. Keisler will serve as acting attorney general while Mukasey goes through the confirmation process. Perino, noting an average confirmation time of three weeks, said she hoped Mukasey would be installed by Oct. 8.