Judiciary Committee approves Mukasey

Leahy pokes a hole in Schumer's defense.

Topics: Department of Justice, War Room, Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.,

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just voted to send Michael Mukasey’s nomination as attorney general to the full Senate. As expected, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein joined the committee’s Republicans in voting to move Mukasey’s nomination forward.

Defending his vote in a New York Times Op-Ed this morning, Schumer said that Mukasey’s refusal to declare waterboarding illegal was “unsatisfactory.” But Schumer said that he hopes Congress will adopt a legal ban on waterboarding, and he said that he’s confident that Mukasey “would enforce that law.”

Maybe he would, but Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy pointed today to the rather obvious hole in Schumer’s logic: George W. Bush would almost certainly veto any ban on waterboarding, meaning it would take effect only if two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate were willing to stand up to the president and override such a veto.

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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