Sen. Patrick Leahy made it perfectly clear on Monday (at least I thought so), that Michael Mukasey's chances of replacing Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States would improve significantly if the Bush White House stopped withholding subpoenaed documents related to its illegal domestic surveillance program, as well as to its removal of nine federal prosecutors for apparently political reasons.
On Tuesday, just before dinner, Rob Roper, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, issued the following statement:
Judge Mukasey deserves a swift and fair confirmation process. It is unfortunate that Senator Leahy intends, for purely political purposes, to stall confirmation of a gentleman Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called a ‘consensus candidate.’
Leahy’s partisan reaction to a consensus nominee flies in the face of his recent boast, “I've been aggressive in making sure that we [the Judiciary Committee] operate in a bipartisan way.” (Leahy Brings the Law, Burlington Free Press, 9/16/07)
On August 1, Senator Leahy was extremely critical of outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for making “law enforcement appear political.” Because when that happens, “the whole system breaks down.” (Leahy attacks Bush, Roberts, by Roger Simon, Aug 1, 2007). By this logic, confirmation of the United States’ top law enforcement office should not appear political either, yet Leahy is making it so.
And finally, this is simply unfair. Leahy’s demands have nothing to do with Michael Mukasey or his abilities to be a successful Attorney General, a position critical to our national security as we fight the War on Terror.
Patrick Leahy should put politics aside and give our country and Judge Mukasey a fair and speedy confirmation process.
Sen. Leahy's Chief of Staff Ed Pagano sent us this response:
"Too bad the Republican Party chairman once again doesn't know what he's talking about, just what his masters at party headquarters in Washington have told him to say.
Meanwhile Senator Leahy and White House Counsel Fred Fielding both say they are having promising discussions about access to documents that until now have been locked behind the stonewalling. Mr. Roper won't succeed in undermining that progress.
The President hasn't even sent this nomination to the Senate yet, and the confirmation process will proceed in due course once he does."