Bringing LIBERTY to
Capitol Hill -- 2008
Saturday Morning, November 3, 2007, 10:30am
A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning Radio
to listen to a replay of the November 3, 2007 Ozarks Virtual
Notes and Summary of the President's Address --
"Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination to be our next Attorney
In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "On Tuesday, the
Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Judge Michael Mukasey's
nomination to be our next Attorney
General. I thank the committee for scheduling this vote. I urge them
to approve this fine man's nomination, and send it to the full Senate as
quickly as possible."
How the President Differs from the American vision of "Liberty
- The President's Attorney General nomination should be viewed in a
big screen, not through a microscope. The issues involved are not just
legal technicalities and constitution conundrums, but speak to who we
are as Americans, and what kind of nation we want to be.
- The President approves of torture.
- The President approves of wiretapping your phone calls.
- The President repeatedly says we are at "war," though the Congress
has never declared a state of war.
- Congress should want to know what the President's nominee thinks
about these issues, not just in terms of the Constitution, but in
terms of the values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence --
the philosophy of "Liberty
- If America's Founding Fathers could see America today, what kind of
Attorney General would they say America needed?
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Tuesday, the Senate
Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Judge Michael Mukasey's
nomination to be our next Attorney General. I thank the committee
for scheduling this vote. I urge them to approve this fine man's
nomination, and send it to the full Senate as quickly as possible.
The key issues in this confirmation struggle are torture
and wiretapping, which branch of government has the power to
decide these issues, and whether
the president authorized to break any laws passed by Congress.
The Senate Democrats want to know if this Attorney General would
uphold the law or simply the whims of the Bush Administration.
In a time of
war, it is vital for the President to have a full national
security team in place -- and the Attorney General is a key member
of that team. The Attorney General is America's top law enforcement
officer, with critical responsibilities for preventing terrorist
attacks and protecting our Nation.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has said:
This afternoon, I met
with Judge Michael Mukasey one more time. I requested the meeting to
address, in person, some of my concerns. The Judge made clear to me
that, were Congress to pass a law banning certain interrogation
techniques, we would clearly be acting within our constitutional
authority. And he flatly told me that the President would have
absolutely no legal authority to ignore such a law, not even under
some theory of inherent authority under Article II of the
Constitution. He also pledged to enforce such a law and repeated his
willingness to leave office rather than participate in a violation
Judge Mukasey is uniquely qualified to fill this
vital role. He served nearly two decades on the Federal bench, and
some of his most important legal experience is in the area of
national security. He presided over the trial of the terrorist known
as "the Blind Sheikh" and his co-defendants in the
conspiracy to destroy prominent New York City landmarks, including
the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. And when the World Trade
Center was attacked again on September the 11th, 2001, Judge Mukasey
quickly reopened his court, even though it was just blocks from
Ground Zero. He and other judges in his district worked day and
night to ensure that applications for warrants were processed,
investigations could proceed, and the rule of law was upheld.
|Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a
Massachusetts Democrat who is on the committee, said
that he would vote against the nominee, and only in part because of
Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to answer directly whether he thinks
waterboarding is torture. “I found little comfort in other areas
as well,” the senator said, going on to say that he is dismayed by
the nominee’s opinions about the extent of a president’s powers
to order an American citizen detained without charges, and other
areas of executive power.
“I therefore intend to oppose this nomination,” Mr. Kennedy
said on the Senate floor. “Judge Mukasey appears to be a careful,
conscientious and intelligent lawyer, and he has served our country
honorably for many years. But those qualities are not enough for
this critical position at this critical time.”
|This is the kind of
leader America needs to head the Department of Justice at this
important moment in our history. Judge Mukasey is a man of
achievement. He is a man of character. And he has been praised by
Republicans and Democrats alike for his honesty, intellect,
fairness, and independence.
||If America's Founding Fathers could
see America today, what kind of Attorney General would they say
|Since I sent his
nomination to the Senate, Judge Mukasey has provided nearly six
hours of testimony. He patiently answered more than 200 questions
during his hearings, and he responded promptly to nearly 500 written
questions. Yet some senators
are working against his nomination because they want him to take a
position on the legality of specific techniques allegedly used to
question captured terrorists.
||Although the president is commander
in chief of the armed forces, Congress has several explicitly
enumerated powers related to national defense. In addition to the
power of the purse, these include the power "to declare
war," to "make rules concerning captures on land and
water," "to make rules for the government and regulation
of the land and naval forces," and to suspend the habeas corpus
privilege "in cases of rebellion or invasion." [Jacob
|As Judge Mukasey
explained in a letter to Judiciary Committee members, he cannot give
such a legal opinion for several reasons. First, he does not know
whether certain methods of questioning are in fact used, because the
program is classified, he's not been given access to that
information, and therefore he is in no position to provide an
informed opinion. Second, he does not want our professional
interrogators in the field to take an uninformed opinion he has
given in the course of a confirmation hearing as meaning that any
conduct of theirs has put them in legal jeopardy.
||We've lost perspective when we
waffle on torture. Imagine that instead of being a global bully, and
spending a trillion dollars to destroy Iraq, we had an international
reputation as a kind and caring Christian nation, and had spent a
trillion dollars capitalizing Iraq, and spreading the ideas of
"Liberty Under God" throughout
the middle east. If a terrorist group was bent on attacking us,
there would be more people inclined to share intelligence with the
U.S. because we are not a hated and despised tyranny.
A good nation does not have to resort to torture.
A military expert on waterboarding and torture says
Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured
the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex,
and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water
to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of
Congress banned this form of torture in 2006; why is there any
question as to its "legality?"
|Finally, he does not
want an uninformed legal opinion to give terrorists a window into
which techniques we may use, and which we may not. That could help
them train their operatives to resist questioning, and withhold
vital information we need to stop attacks and save lives.
||Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts,
who is not a Judiciary Committee member, said
he is "not comfortable confirming anyone who cannot see that
this method of interrogation is antithetical to American values and
should not make Judge Mukasey's confirmation dependent on his
willingness to make a public judgment about a classified program he
has not been briefed on. If the Senate Judiciary Committee were to
block Judge Mukasey on these grounds, it would set a new standard
for confirmation that could not be met by any responsible nominee
for Attorney General. And that would guarantee that America would
have no confirmed Attorney General during this
time of war.
||The President often signs
Congressionally-approved laws using "Signing Statements"
which boldly declare the
Administration's intention to ignore the law.
According to an article in
The New York Times, Mukasey suggested that President Bush's
widely criticized eavesdropping program may be acceptable under
constitutional authority, even if not allowed by laws enacted by
Congress. Being the commander in chief, according to Mukasey, allows
the president to supersede the laws written by Congress.
Instead of being considered for the appointment of attorney
general, Mr. Mukasey should take a course on "Constitution
101." Defined in the "supreme law of the land" is the
wonderfully short Article II that defines the powers of the
president. Nowhere in Article II of the Constitution is the
president granted the authority to supersede the laws written by
Congress, nor the Constitution itself.
|Senate leaders should
move Judge Mukasey's nomination out of Committee and bring it to the
Senate floor for an up or down vote. In this
time of war, America needs the best people leading our
efforts to protect the American people. With Judge Mukasey serving
as Attorney General, our national security team will be stronger --
and the Senate should confirm this good man as quickly as possible.
||Even as the administration
continues to insist that the NSA's warrantless surveillance was
legal, it is pressing
Congress to give the telecommunications companies that cooperated
with the program retroactive legal immunity. Immunity for what? For
assisting the government with its perfectly lawful surveillance? [Sullum]
|Thank you for
The Democrat Party Radio Address:
Senator Patty Murray from Washington State delivers this week's Democratic
Radio Address. The subject is Veterans.
Libertarian Response to Democrats:
- The Democrats' bill is loaded with pork and unconstitutional
- Murray says the "veterans" bill "funds other crucial
American priorities, like education and Alzheimer’s’
- Education is not a federal
- Neither is "Alzheimer’s’ research." There are
different corporations which are engaged in Alzheimer’s’ research;
why should Washington bureaucrats take money out of your paycheck and
give it to its own favored pharmaceutical corporations instead of
allowing you to donate to the causes you prefer?
for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual