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Mukasey installed as US AG at DOJ ceremony

[JURIST] New US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey [official profile; JURIST news archive] was installed during a ceremony at the Justice Department Wednesday in front of hundreds of officials and DOJ lawyers. Although officially sworn-in [JURIST report] last Friday, Mukasey again took the oath of office in an installation ceremony led by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Addressing DOJ employees for the first time, Mukasey said [text]:

I have said previously that much has changed since 1972, when I took the same oath I took today to serve in the United States attorney's office, and indeed it has. There are laws on the books today that did not exist when I was sworn in then, and there are problems that confront us now that did not confront us then, mainly but not entirely involving the threat to our security from those who believe it is their religious duty to make war on us.

But the oath, of course, has stayed the same. And so in many ways has the nature of the work — the work that I did then and that you have been doing before I arrived here. You are, all of you, involved, day to day, in applying regulations or rules or laws or provisions of the constitution you have all sworn to protect, a sworn promise in which I joined this morning.

What each person here does, on a day to day basis, is law. If that sounds prosaic and rather limited, try thinking for a moment about the alternative, where the results depends on the opinion of one person or a group of people as to what they feel is right. We don't do simply what seems fair and right according to our own tastes and standards.

But when you step back and look at the thousands of decisions that are made every day under those rules and regulations and laws and Constitutional provisions that this Department enforces — the cases you handle, the prisoners in your care, the investigations you pursue — when you look at that, the result is something glorious. The result is what gives this Department its name. We do law, but the result is justice. And that is why our ultimate client — the people of this country — can and do rest secure in the knowledge that our unswerving allegiance is to the law and the Constitution, and that the result of faithful performance of our duty is justice.

That is the great work that each of you and all of you were doing before I showed up here this morning and took the same oath that you had already taken. But the reason why I believe that I was not in any meaningful sense the Attorney General until I came before you here is that my job involves not only an oath, but also a pledge, which I now give you.

And that is to use all of the strength of mind and body that I have to help you to continue to protect the freedom and the security of the people of this country — and their civil rights and liberties — through the neutral and even-handed application of the constitution and the laws enacted under it; to ask myself in every decision I make whether it helps you to do that; to take the counsel not only of my own insights but also of yours, and to pray that I can help give you the leadership you deserve.
President George W. Bush also spoke at the ceremony, and in his remarks [text], said:
The job of the Attorney General is one of the most important in our nation's government. The Attorney General must run the world's largest law firm, and the central agency for enforcement of our federal laws. He must aggressively prosecute gun criminals and drug dealers, hold corporate wrongdoers to account, protect victims of child abuse and domestic violence, and uphold the civil rights of every American.

In this time of war, the job of the Attorney General is also vital to America's national security. The Attorney General is responsible for our law enforcement community's efforts to detect, prevent, and disrupt terrorist attacks here at home. He must make certain that our intelligence and law enforcement communities work hand-in-hand to protect the American people from terrorist threats. He must ensure that we do everything within the law to defend the security of all Americans -- while at the same time protecting the liberty of all Americans.

Judge Michael Mukasey is the right man to take on these vital challenges. Michael understands the law from both sides of the bench. He served for more than 18 years as a U.S. District Court Judge in New York, including six years as the Chief Judge. He was a lawyer in private practice. He has served an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan, where he headed the Official Corruption Unit.

Judge Mukasey also understands the challenges facing our nation in this time of war. He has written wisely on matters of constitutional law and national security. He knows what it takes to fight the war on terror effectively. And he knows how to do it in a matter that is consistent with our laws and our Constitution. He will bring clear purpose and resolve to the job of Attorney General. I look forward to working with him as a member of my Cabinet, and a key player on our national security team.
The US Senate voted 53-40 [JURIST report] last week to confirm Mukasey's nomination. 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. AP has more.

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