Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another 'no' vote on Mukasey

Joe Biden, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committtee, says he will not support Michael Mukasey as attorney general. He cites Mukasey's refusal so far to characterize waterboarding as torture, or as a criminal act.

I am disappointed by Judge Mukasey’s response. He was asked a direct question on the specifics of waterboarding and he refused to unequivocally state that this practice is torture. For this reason, I shall oppose his nomination to be the United States Attorney General.

“Waterboarding is by any standard, torture. I called on my colleagues today to support legislation I introduced this summer banning waterboarding and other forms of torture. When we use torture or other cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees, we diminish our ability to argue that the same techniques should not be used against our own troops. We need to send a clear message that torture, inhumane, and degrading treatment of detainees is unacceptable and is not permitted by U.S. law. Period. We cannot have a United States Attorney General who will equivocate and dissemble on this matter. Too much is at stake.”
It is not clear whether this means Biden will vote to kill Mukasey's nomination in committee, or if he only intends to vote "no" in the full chamber.

Previously, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), also a member of the Judiciary Committee, expressed disappointment in Mukasey for failing to characterize waterboarding as torture. Prior to that, he had said his support for Mukasey hinged on the nominee's willingness to say that the practice does amount to torture.