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Schumer, Feinstein support for Mukasey could push nominee through committee

[JURIST] US senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) [official websites] said Friday that they would support the nomination of Michael Mukasey [WH profile; JURIST news archive] as US attorney general, according to preliminary reports. Their endorsements in combination with those of GOP colleagues would likely give Mukasey the ten votes that he needs for his nomination to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] and advance to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. Schumer said Friday after meeting Mukasey privately that his decision to support the hard-pressed nominee was "extremely difficult". Feinstein said in press release [text] last week that

Michael Mukasey is not Alberto Gonzales. Rather, he has forged an independent life path as a practitioner of the law and a federal judge in the Southern District of New York. In this capacity, he has presided over 1,600 cases over 19 years. He has developed extensive experience on national security issues....

Judge Mukasey’s answers to hundreds of questions, both in our confirmation hearing and in writing, were crisp and succinct, and demonstrated a strong, informed, and independent mind.
AP has more.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said [JURIST report] earlier Friday that he will not support Mukasey's nomination, citing Mukasey's continuing reluctance to unequivocally denounce waterboarding [JURIST news archive] as illegal torture. Schumer contends, however, that Mukasey would enforce a law against US use of the interrogation technique. Four Democratic committee members, including Joe Biden (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) [official websites], have already said they will not vote for Mukasey. AP has more. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Mukasey's nomination [JURIST report] next Tuesday.

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