A Recess Appointment for Mukasey?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


mukasey.gifAs David noted yesterday, Senate Dems will have a chance to block Michael Mukasey’s nomination on Tuesday when the Judiciary Committee puts him to a vote. Whether or not they will do so remains a big if, given that it will require a no vote from each of the 10 Democrats on the committee and, as yet, only four have signaled that they will oppose his nomination. As it stands, New York Senator Chuck Schumer appears to be waffling. An early advocate of Mukasey, he said yesterday that “no nominee from this administration will agree with us on things like torture and wiretapping. The best we can expect is somebody who will depoliticize the Justice Department and put rule of law first.” Later today, Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy is expected to announce whether he will support Mukasey’s nomination.

As the Los Angeles Times points out today, even if the Dems on judiciary stand firm on Mukasey, the president could attempt to install his AG pick in a recess appointment—one that will remain in effect until the close of his presidency—over Congress’ upcoming holiday break. In that case, the Times notes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could try to out maneuver the president, “by keeping some lawmakers in Washington over the break to ensure that the chamber was always in session.”

Depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s vote, the Dems could find themselves (again) in a showdown with the president, who came out swinging yesterday in defense of his nominee. Playing the Dems-won’t keep-you-safe card, the president said that “on too many issues, Congress is behaving as if America is not at war” and that blocking Mukasey “would guarantee that America would have no attorney general during this time of war.” The latter is a bit of a strange comment, one that doesn’t display terribly much confidence in Peter D. Keisler, the acting attorney general, a founding member of the Federalist Society (the conservative lawyers group), and an ideological soulmate of the administration.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate