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.