Judiciary Committee Should Not Advance Mukasey's Nomination Until He Denounces Acts of Torture

November 2, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union urgesmembers of the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose moving forward withthe nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey for attorney general unlessMukasey states that waterboarding and other extreme interrogationstactics are torture. Throughout the confirmation hearings and in hisresponses to the questions of Judiciary Committee members, JudgeMukasey remained unwilling to declare waterboarding as torture whenauthorized by the federal government. He also refused to say that it isillegal for foreign countries to waterboard, beat and shock Americancitizens. The ACLU sent a letter to the Judiciary Committee leadershipasking them to oppose moving forward without such commitments.

“Judge Mukasey has failed to clear the lowest hurdlefor anominee to be attorney general – that of knowing what is andwhat is not the law, and therefore reaffirming the criminality oftorture,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLUWashington Legislative Office. “Federal law is clear thatwaterboarding, as well as all other forms of torture and abuse, areillegal. What is also becoming clear is that unless Judge Mukaseyindicates that he will follow the rule of law, his nomination to headthe Justice Department will not see the Senate floor.”

The ACLU has demanded a commitment that Judge Mukasey“justsay no to waterboarding.” He clearly has not complied, andwithout that commitment, the Senate Judiciary Committee should not voteto advance the nomination to the Senate floor. The committee needs tofully engage in its role of vetting nominee.

“Our nation’s top law enforcement officerneeds tobe able to state clearly that waterboarding, electric shocks andbeatings are torture and against the law,” said ChristopherAnders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU Washington LegislativeOffice. “Not only does Judge Mukasey refuse to say that thefederal government cannot use waterboarding, but he won’teven say that it is illegal for foreign countries to waterboard, shockand beat American citizens. His responses undermine American values andjeopardize the safety of Americans serving overseas. America needs morefrom a nominee for the top law enforcement job.”

The ACLU letter to Senate Judiciary leadership can be found at:

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