Monday, October 29, 2007

"As Basic As It Gets" - Dodd Announces Opposition to Mukasey as Attorney General

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 448

In a conference call with reporters earlier today, Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd elaborated on his announcement that he will oppose confirmation of Michael Mukasey to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

Citing testimony by Mukasey, a former federal judge, that seems to defend the idea that a president is free to disregard federal statutes when acting in the capacity of Commander in Chief, Dodd said, "That's about as basic as it gets. [As president] you must obey the law. Everyone must." Dodd continued that the idea that presidential powers supersede those of Congress and the courts is "a continuation of the Alberto Gonzales mentality at the Justice Department...we are a nation of laws, and not [of] men."

Dodd's comments today go beyond the concerns raised by all the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month over Mukasey's vague replies regarding the legality of waterboarding and other coercive interrogation techniques (yes, as a nation we now employ an entire suite of horrific interrogation methods; how nice for us) and go to more fundamental issues about whether Mukasey, as the country's chief law enforcement officer, would uphold the rule of law over presidential fiat.

In my view, Dodd is right in opposing this nomination, or the nomination of anyone who feels that laws passed by Congress can be ignored whenever a president says he (or she) is breaking those laws in pursuit of the national security. As a nation, we have already gone so far down that rabbit hole that restoring the Constitution is actually in play as an issue in the presidential campaign. Confirming Mukasey as attorney general would only compound and reinforce this trend, and I commend Chris Dodd for getting out in front on this issue. It really is, as Dodd said today, as basic as it gets.

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