Possible new attorney general receives criticism

By Eric Steckling

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is and retired Judge Michael Mukasey may soon be filling his empty seat.

On Monday, President Bush announced that he is recommending Mukasey to replace Gonzales, who officially resigned the same day.

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University journalism professor Steve Helle breaks down Mukasey’s political views

“Now he’s a conservative, but he hasn’t always agreed with the administration line,” University journalism professor Steve Halle said. “In fact there’s a column in today’s Washington Post that calls him the anti-cronie, and so that’s why Schumer, for example, has at least initially indicated some positive sentiments toward Mukasey.”

Mukasey may be the center of attention now, but he’s been turning congressional heads for many years. He presided over trials involving the first World Trade Center attacks, and in 2003 a senator submitted Mukasey’s name for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Civic Leadership Fellow Gail Schnitzer thinks Bush rushed Mukasey’s nomination.

“He’d only met Mukasey like a week before deciding he was going to be Attorney General,” Schnitzer said. “And you know while maybe his record speaks for itself, I think it makes Bush look like he’s less analytical than maybe would be necessary in picking such a position.”

Many see this selection as a political compromise. Mukasey is seen as a more left-leaning Republican, which appeals to some Democrats.

Helle said that this is a move that had to be made.

“First of all, he should have picked Mukasey first instead of Gonzales,” Halle said. “And so I think that picking Mukasey, who on his worst day will be better than Gonzales ever was on his best day, was a smart move on the behalf of the Bush administration.”

Mukasey is expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the upcoming weeks. Democrats promise a thorough examination of his judicial views.