ACLU Says Congress Should Demand Four Part Pledge Before Confirming Bush Attorney General Nominee

September 17, 2007 12:00 am

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(Updated 9/17/2007)


WASHINGTON, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union urges the Senate to extract a pledge from attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey, or any nominee, unless he or she pledges under oath to meet the four demands listed below.

“After enduring almost three years of a broken Justice Department under an attorney general with one of the worst civil liberties records in our nation’s history, Congress must ensure that the next attorney general faithfully perform his or her oath to uphold the Constitution,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “Before confirming anyone for attorney general, it is imperative that the Senate receive a pledge under oath that the nominee’s first allegiance will be to the rule of law and the Constitution, not to a president or a political party.”

In particular, the ACLU said the Senate should not confirm Michael Mukasey, or any nominee, unless the nominee promises under oath to take the following four steps within the first thirty days in office:

  • Turn over to the Judiciary Committee all documents in the Justice Department’s possession concerning the authorization to monitor any phone call in the United States without a warrant, and concerning the use of national security letters to obtain documents anywhere in America.
  • Turn over to the Judiciary Committee all documents in the Justice Department’s possession authorizing the use of any interrogation or detention practices that are not authorized by the Army Field Manual on Interrogations, as well as any documents interpreting or analyzing any legal prohibitions on torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
  • Appoint an outside special counsel for the investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution of any person who violated federal laws protecting detainees against torture and abuse, or who violated federal laws against wiretapping within the United States without a warrant.
  • Create a blue-ribbon committee of civil rights advisors to focus on restoring the Civil Rights Division to its historic role as the nation’s premier and nonpartisan civil rights enforcement agency.

Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU said, “After two and a half years of dodging and hiding the ball by Attorney General Gonzales on core civil liberties and civil rights duties of the attorney general, the Senate cannot afford to accept anything less than a pledge – under oath – from the nominee that he will complete this four part attorney general’s to-do list within 30 days of confirmation. The Senate shouldn’t accept empty promises but only a specific pledge under oath to clean up the mess left by Gonzales.”

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