President Bush's nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General has written op ed pieces and given speeches praising the virtues of the Patriot Act, and is also a contributor and legal advisor to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.
A brief scan of the bio of Michael B. Mukasey reveals some issues that have conservative groups concerned.
In May 2004, while still a member of the judiciary, Judge Mukasey delivered a speech (which he converted into a Wall Street Journal opinion piece) that defended the Patriot Act; the piece also doubted that the FBI engaged in racial profiling of Arabs and criticized the American Library Association for condemning the Patriot Act but not taking a position on librarians imprisoned in Cuba.
Mukasey's son, Marc L. Mukasey, leads the white-collar criminal defense practice in the New York office of Bracewell & Giuliani. The Mukaseys are justice advisers to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, with Mukasey himself also having made campaign contributions to Giuliani for president.
During his tenure on the bench, Mukasey presided over the criminal prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman and El Sayyid Nosair, whom he sentenced to life in prison for a plot to blow up the United Nations and other Manhattan landmarks uncovered during an investigation into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Mukasey also heard the trial of Jose Padilla, ruling that the U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist could be held as an enemy combatant, but was entitled to see his lawyers. Mukasey also was the judge in the litigation between developer Larry Silverstein and several insurance companies arising from the destruction of the World Trade Center, a case which ultimately ended with a federal court deciding that insurers owed a maximum of $4.6 billion, more than the $3.5 billion term of the insurance policy.
"He knows what it takes to fight this war [on terror] effectively," Bush told the press today, referring to Mukasey's experience in terrorism cases.
"Thirty-five years ago, our foreign adversaries saw widespread devastation as a deterrent. Today, our fanatical enemies see it as a divine fulfillment," Mukasey said, outlining his intentions as Attorney General.
Bruce Fein, a former deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, has said Mukasey is "not the right person for the job."
"I do not believe, despite certainly substantial credentials, that he has the national stature and strength in Congress to resist White House overtures to insist that he bend the law to assist the political agenda," said Fein, a constitutional and international lawyer with Bruce Fein & Associates and the Lichfield Group.
Other conservative groups have also voiced concern over Mukasey's record on abortion.