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Bush nominates 5 to top DOJ posts

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush Thursday announced five nominations [WH press release] for top posts in the US Department of Justice (DOJ), including a federal judge sitting in Chicago for the number two spot. Bush's nominations include:

  • US District Judge Mark Filip [UChicago profile] for deputy attorney general;
  • US Attorney Kevin O'Connor [official profile] for associate attorney general;
  • Acting Associate General Attorney Gregory G. Katsas [official profile] for assistant attorney general of the civil division;
  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker [ICAS profile] for assistant attorney general of the civil rights division; and
  • private attorney Nathan Hochman [firm profile] for assistant attorney general of the tax division.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Thursday declined to set a time table for Senate confirmation of the nominations, saying that he wants to ensure the nominees "are committed to restoring the independence and mission of the Justice Department."

Bush had previously decided on all five nominations, but waited for Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to be sworn in [JURIST report] and approve the list. Mukasey succeeds former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive], whose resignation [JURIST report] took effect in September. Gonzales resigned from his post after months of controversy over the Justice Department's handling of the firings of eight US Attorneys [JURIST news archive] and subsequent allegations that he may have perjured himself [JURIST report] in testimony before Congress. Leahy expressed hope Thursday that Mukasey and whomever fills the vacant DOJ spots will restore the department's integrity. The New York Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

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