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Attorney General Nominee Goes Before the Senate

Confirmation hearings are taking place on Capitol Hill for the next attorney general.

Former federal Judge Michael Mukasey, who was nominated by President Bush to replace Alberto Gonzales, was warmly received by senators.

Dahlia Lithwick, legal analyst with the online magazine Slate, says Mukasey spoke out against torture, using strong language to repudiate the Bush administration's infamous torture memo. Mukasey went on to compared torture to what went on in Germany's concentration camps.

Mukasey also opposed the detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Lithwick says. He told the senators that detaining people with apparently no end has given the United States a black eye. Another problem with Guantanamo, Mukasey said, was several agencies are involved with the detentions, but no one agency "owns" it. Lithwick says the nominee supported President Bush's plan to close the detention center.

Questioned about the U.S. attorney firings, Mukasey was clear in his opposition to the "politicization" of the Justice Department. He said political people should not be responsible for hiring or firing people. Lithwick says the nominee vowed that hiring in the department would be based solely on qualifications, not political affiliation.

Lithwick talks to Madeleine Brand about the hearing.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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