[JURIST] The chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee announced [press release] Wednesday that an executive business meeting [SJC materials] will be held November 6 to consider the nomination of Michael Mukasey [WH profile; JURIST news archive] as US attorney general. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that the date was selected to allow committee members "an opportunity to consider the recently received written responses" from Mukasey and that he hoped that members would "be prepared to debate the nomination and vote" next Tuesday. Earlier this week, Mukasey sent a letter [PDF text; JURIST report] to the committee saying that he did not know if waterboarding [JURIST news archive] was illegal, and that it would be "irresponsible" of him to provide a legal opinion on whether any specific interrogation technique constituted torture without an in-depth analysis of relevant laws and more information about its use. Leahy released a statement [text] in response to Mukasey's letter saying that he remained "very concerned that Judge Mukasey finds himself unable to state unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal and below the standards and values of the United States."
Both Democrats and Republicans [JURIST reports] have said they will consider opposing Mukasey's nomination if he does not unequivocally say that waterboarding is torture. On Wednesday, the White House said that Mukasey's confirmation is still viable and expressed hope that a vote would be held soon. Mukasey must receive ten votes from the Senate Judiciary Committee for his nomination to advance to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. AP has more.