I am writing to ask Empire readers to join me in urging Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens to vote no on Michael Mukasey on his appointment as U.S. attorney general.
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During his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Mukasey revealed a view of presidential power simply unacceptable in the nation's top law enforcement officer. When he was asked whether the president could authorize a person to break federal statutes, thus putting that person above the law, the nominee responded, "The president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law."
To say that the president has the ability to authorize any activity regardless of statutory law under any circumstances is to free the executive of any limits. This cannot be what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
This attitude cannot be excused as a temporary war-time measure because as we know, the current war on terror was not formally declared by Congress and is expected to last generations.
Voting Mukasey into office is an endorsement of his view of unfettered presidential power. If Congress is to have any meaningful role in the governance of this country, this view of power cannot stand. This nominee should be rejected, and our delegation should ask the president to put forth a nominee who respects the role of all three branches of the federal government and who will commit to prosecuting violations of federal statutes even if those crimes are authorized by the president.