NAACP Opposes US Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ON TORTURE AND USE OF WARRENTLESS SEARCHES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS RAISE GRAVE CONCERNS ON KEY CIVIL RIGHTS, CIVIL LIBERTIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
President George W. Bush has nominated Judge Michael B. Mukasey to succeed Alberto Gonzalez as Attorney General for the United State. Due to his refusal to condemn waterboarding as torture, endorsed broad assertions of executive authority, and failure to make firm commitments to the enforcement of civil rights at his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this month hearing and in his responses to written questions, the NAACP opposes his confirmation.
The NAACP is deeply concerned that Judge Mukasey’s refusal to state unequivocally that waterboarding is torture, along with his apparent willingness to allow the Administration to engage in warrantless surveillance of persons in the United States in violation of congressional laws does not speak well of his willingness to protect Americans’ civil rights or civil liberties. This, combined with Judge Mukasey’s ambiguous responses with respect to questions regarding how he would improve civil rights enforcement, is at the heart of the NAACP’s opposition.
Civil and voting rights enforcement have been low priorities within the Department of Justice for too long, making it especially important that the next Attorney General be committed to the vigorous and unbiased enforcement of those laws. Unfortunately, during his confirmation hearing Judge Mukasey failed to offer solutions to the extremely low number of cases brought by the Civil Rights Division on behalf of women and racial and ethnic minorities in employment discrimination cases. Furthermore, on an issue as central to the civil right community as voting rights, Judge Mukasey would not commit to the straightforward proposition that a voter identification requirement that disproportionately impacts minorities could violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. His responses to questions concerning civil and voting rights enforcement evidenced little understanding of the problems that currently plague the Civil Rights Division, and have led the NAACP to be concerned that he will not take the necessary steps to improve this vital, yet faltering, division of the US Department of Justice.