Today’s L.A. Times chronicles the growing opposition to the Mukasey nomination among Judicary Committe Democrats. The New York Times tries to make the case that Judge Mukasey’s inability to come out and say that waterboarding is illegal stems from his concern that those who have engaged in the practice will be prosecuted but, over at Balkinization, that reasoning is picked apart. Jack Balkin points out that American operatives have already been granted immunity by Congress and have the protection of various immunities. What’s really behind Mukasey’s intransigence on waterboarding? Here’s as apt a summary of the Bush Administration’s torture litmus test as any I’ve read:
The Bush Admininstration will not nominate anyone to be Attorney General who will state publicly that what the Administration did was illegal or dishonorable. That means that the only persons who can be nominated are those who are willing to be complicit in its illegality and dishonor. For if the nominee admitted that the Administration had repeatedly misled the American people about the legality of its actions, he would not be welcome in the Bush Administration.