Spector Downplays Torture as Issue and Throws Support to Mukasey

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that he will also vote for Michael Mukasey despite his position on torture. Specter downplayed the significance of an attorney general who refused to recognize U.S. and International decisions that waterboarding is torture. Specter just views torture as another issue to be balanced in such votes. “You have to balance it off with where we are today,” said Specter, R-Pa. “The Department of Justice is dysfunctional. It is not performing. And every day that passes, we do not have someone in charge of the investigation against terrorism, the fight against violent crime.” Thus, according to this logic, it is not “dysfunctional” to have an attorney general who refuses to recognize torture. This is not the first time that Spector has found a way to balance his way out of protecting civil liberties. He is joined by Schumer and Feinstein in supporting Mukasey.

Notably, the White House recently suggested that certain senators were informed about their interrogation program. If true, a confrontation of past waterboarding would prove very embarrassing for members, as was the disclosure of Democratic knowledge of the NSA domestic surveillance program. The fix was in from the start on the Mukasey nomination in the view of many. In the end, senators from these pro-civil liberties states like New York, California, and Penn. abandoned not just a fundamental principle of the rule of law, but the voters who were promised that, if reelected, they would fight for such principles. The suggestion that it is worst to have an acting attorney general is laughable.

3 thoughts on “Spector Downplays Torture as Issue and Throws Support to Mukasey”

  1. If Mukasey gets confirmed, we can all be witnesses to his first official act as to having either lied under oath or to having already demonstrated his incompetence/questionable ethics etc , as did his predecessor – any of which are reportable to the NY State Bar under Professional ROC’s, calling his license into question which undoubtedly, pre-requisites and an ongoing requirement for the position.


    This, from the Office of Personnel Management:

    The Oath of Office and the Constitution

    I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, WITHOUT ANY MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
    5 U.S.C. §3331

    ” As Federal civil servants, we take an oath of office by which we swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution not only establishes our system of government, it actually defines the work role for Federal employees – “to establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.”

    The history of the Oath for Federal employees can be traced to the Constitution, where Article II includes the specific oath the President takes – to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article VI requires an oath by all other government officials from all three branches, the military, and the States. It simply states that they “shall be bound by oath of affirmation to support the Constitution.” The very first law passed by the very first Congress implemented Article VI by setting out this simple oath in law: “I do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”

    The wording we use today as Executive Branch employees is now set out in chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code. The wording dates to the Civil War and what was called the Ironclad Test Oath. Starting in 1862, Congress required a two-part oath. The first part, referred to as a “background check,” affirmed that you were not supporting and had not supported the Confederacy. The second part addressed future performance, that is, what you would swear to do in the future. It established a clear, publicly sworn accountability. In 1873, Congress dropped the first part of the Ironclad Test Oath, and in 1884 adopted the wording we use today.
    *Deaf and hard of hearing users should contact us using the the Federal Relay Service. See http://www.frso.us/. ”

  2. What can one say.

    Given the dominance of pragmatic/results-oriented thinking, utilitarian ethics and a debased popular culture, its no wonder it has come to this…..

  3. Every time I think our Congress has stooped as low as it can go, it stoops even lower. Now they seem poised to confim an Attorney General who so much as admitted that he would allow the President to violate not only statutory law, but the Constitution! This is beyond horrible.

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