Bush Picks Retired N.Y. Judge for AG Spot

Anne Winter
WASHINGTON — President Bush has nominated former federal judge Michael Mukasey, a staunch but independently minded conservative, to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general.

Mukasey served in one of the country's busiest New York City courts and presided over several significant terrorism trials, including the 2002 prosecution of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla, convicted of lending support to al Queda.

The Bush administration refused Padilla of legal representation, but Mukasey challenged Bush's authority and ruled Padilla had the right to attorney.

This is a good sign, Democrats and adult industry attorneys say, because it shows Mukasey is willing to recognize the rule of law even when it goes against the Republican administration.

"I think his credentials are pretty clear about indicating what the executive is looking for in an [attorney general]," adult industry lawyer Robert Apgood told XBIZ. "The fact that the guy has done terrorist cases in the last 10 years prior to his retirement says a lot about what the president's office thinks is important in an attorney general and where the priorities are."

The president also acknowledged that choosing Mukasey had much to do with his objective antiterrorism focus.

"Judge Mukasey is clear-eyed about the threat our nation faces," Bush said. "He knows what it takes to fight this war effectively and he knows how to do it in a manner consistent with our laws and our Constitution."

Adult industry lawyer Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that though he's found no information about Mukasey with regards to adult, he has ruled in favor of the 1st Amendment in several cases, including U.S. vs. Carlin Communications in 1987.

"It shows [Bush] is becoming weaker and weaker as a president as time goes on," Walters said. "He can't push through these right-wing ideologue candidates any longer, so he had to find someone that, while they're conservative, was certainly qualified but will follow the rule of law when required."

Apgood said that it may not cross Mukasey's mind to go after the adult industry and that it's not likely it ever will.

"I've talked to some guys in the FBI and they're not really interested in 2257 in the least," Apgood said. "I think Mukasey's more interested in terrorism and things like that than he is [in] chasing adult entertainment."

The White House reportedly is urging the Senate to quickly consider Mukasey and confirm him before the Oct. 8 Congressional recess.