The Mukasey Rule: Lame-Duck Obama Should Get the Attorney General He Wants
On Tuesday, Republicans may recapture control of the Senate. And to be sure, they've made no secret of their plans to derail the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency. Would-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who in 2005 declared that "Any president's judicial nominees, after full and fair debate, receive a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate floor," last year promised Democrats who chose the nuclear option on judicial nominees, "you may regret it a lot sooner than you think." As Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute warned, "A Republican Senate would shut the door on confirmations, and they're going to do so on executive as well as judicial ones." Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, the man who led the right-wing legal challenge to Obamacare, explained how the new GOP majority's demolition project would work:
"My guess is Obama would have to present nominees that are much much more acceptable to Republicans, or they won't even schedule hearings."
Of course, that's not how Democrats treated lame-duck President George W. Bush after the "thumpin'" they administered to him and his party in the 2006 midterms. After retaking the Senate, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Bush's choice as Attorney General, Judge Michael Mukasey. And for their willingness to let the Constitutional process go forward with a replacement for the comically corrupt Alberto Gonzales, Democrats were rewarded with a hyper-partisan attack dog whose dirty work for the GOP continues to this day.