Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the man who will preside over Michael Mukasey's confirmation hearing, signals hard that Mukasey
's not going anywhere until the committee gets the information it's been seeking on the U.S. attorney firings and the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. A statement just out:
âThe Judiciary Committee will approach consideration of the nomination of an Attorney General in a serious and deliberate fashion. The Administration took months determining that a change in leadership was needed at the Department of Justice and then the President spent several weeks before making a nomination. Our focus now will be on securing the relevant information we need so we can proceed to schedule fair and thorough hearings. Cooperation from the White House will be essential in determining that schedule.
âThe next Attorney General needs to be someone who can begin the process of restoring the Department of Justice to its proper mission. I am hopeful that once we obtain the information we need and we have had the opportunity to consider the nomination, we will be able to make progress in this regard.â
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), by contrast, sounds upbeat in his statement.
Here's what he has to say:
âIâm glad President Bush listened to Congress and put aside his plan to replace Alberto Gonzales with another partisan Administration insider. Judge Mukasey has strong professional credentials and a reputation for independence. A man who spent 18 years on the federal bench surely understands the importance of checks and balances and knows how to say no to the President when he oversteps the Constitution.
âBut there should be no rush to judgment. The Senate Judiciary Committee must carefully examine Judge Mukaseyâs views on the complex legal challenges facing the nation. I look forward to meeting Judge Mukasey, and I will work with Chairman Leahy to ensure a full airing of the issues presented by his nomination.â