Michael Mukasey

Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgTired of talking about terrorism, torture, and related topics? You might not be alone. At a Federalist Society discussion we attended on Tuesday night, entitled Do We Have the Legal Tools to Prevent Terrorist Attacks?, even some of the panelists wondered why these subjects still generate so much discussion, over seven years after the 9/11 attacks. (More about the panel later today.)
Similarly, when former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey made the war on terror the focus of his recent commencement address at UNC School of Law, some of the graduates (and their families) were less than pleased. From one attendee:

Michael Mukasey just spoke at UNC commencement and used the entire speech to cover his own ass on torture. It was wildly inappropriate for a graduation….

A lot of people were very upset. The speech hardly mentioned the students graduating, if at all, and was instead a 30-minute legal argument defending torture. He focused on Jose Padilla for most of the speech, basically talking about how bad of a person he was and how much information they got from him. People in the audience were walking out, including all ten members of my family who were present.

This is not the first time Mukasey has caused commencement controversy. See here (first paragraph), discussing events at Boston College Law School last year.
Some way harsh reviews of ex-AG Mukasey, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attorney General Mukasey’s UNC Commencement Address: Torture to Sit Through?”

Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgThe revolving door between government and private practice is in full swing. This morning brought the news that Judith Kaye, former chief judge of New York State, has joined Skadden Arps as counsel.

And this afternoon brings more news: Michael Mukasey, fresh off his stint as U.S. Attorney General, will be joining the partnership of Debevoise & Plimpton. Before his service as AG, Mukasey was a partner at Patterson Belknap (and was a Patterson associate before becoming a federal judge in the S.D.N.Y.).

Why didn’t Mukasey return to Patterson? Perhaps Debevoise offered more dough. Fueled by a series of large internal investigations, including the international Siemens matter, the firm has seen its partner profits skyrocket in recent years. In 2007, profits per partner at Debevoise hit $2.3 million.

Says a Debevoise tipster: “Now I get to find out if waterboarding is torture.”

Update (3:05 PM): The Debevoise press release is now available here.

Update (4 PM): Mukasey gave a short interview to the WSJ Law Blog, in which he explained his decision to join Debevoise: “It’s particularly strong in litigation and in conducting major corporate investigations and preparing reports to boards. Also, it has many former government lawyers, including Mary Jo [White].”

Update (5:30 PM): More praise from Mukasey for Debevoise, over at Am Law Daily.

Michael B. Mukasey to Join Debevoise & Plimpton (press release)

A Law Blog Q&A With Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey [WSJ Law Blog]

Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye Joins Skadden, Arps (press release)

Former NYS Chief Judge Judith Kaye Joins Skadden [Am Law Daily]

Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgLast night, Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed while addressing the Federalist Society. Some feared the AG had suffered a stroke.

Today brings good news about his condition. This morning we reported (see the 10 AM update): “The AG is fine and will be released from the hospital later today. No word yet on what the diagnosis was. He will be taking a few days off.”

A few days off? Scratch that. He’s heading back into work, perhaps as you read this. Here’s the message he just sent to all Justice Department employees (via the BLT):

As you may have heard, I collapsed briefly last night at the conclusion of a speech. All tests at the hospital have come back with good results, and I feel fine. Accordingly, I plan to report to the Department this afternoon and to continue doing the work I swore to do last November and which it has been an honor to do with you ever since.

Thank you for your good wishes and your good work. It has been and remains an honor to serve with you.

We’re glad to hear that Attorney General Mukasey — widely respected among DOJ lawyers, especially compared to Alberto Gonzales, whose job performance even conservative lawyers won’t defend — is doing well and back on the job.

Feeling Fine After Collapse, Mukasey Returns to Work [ABA Journal]

Mukasey Says He’s Ready for Work Again [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

Earlier: Breaking: Attorney General Mukasey Collapses at Federalist Society Dinner


animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFATL correspondent Laurie Lin, on the scene at the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, reports that Attorney General Michael Mukasey “literally collapsed mid-sentence at the podium,” while delivering a speech at the Society’s National Lawyers Convention. It is not clear what AG Mukasey suffered, but a stroke is possible.

“Medical people are working on him now as he lies on the dais,” according to Lin. “Secret Service FBI says no one can get up. Entire hall is shocked and silent.”

Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgUpdate (10:38 PM): “They appear to have an IV in. They have taken him out. Now people are praying…. Everyone is saying it looked like a stroke. People are very somber. Some people from the DOJ are visibly shaken.”

Update (10:47 PM): According to radio reports, Mukasey did not immediately regain consciousness after collapsing, and was taken to an area hospital. More from Politico over here.

Update (11:03 PM): According to a different source, Mukasey had regained consciousness by the time he was taken out of the room.

Update (11:06 PM): People are now being allowed to leave the room. From Laurie Lin: “The party ended abruptly, needless to say. The tone of the man [perhaps David McIntosh] who prayed after they took out the AG seemed pretty grim. He asked for prayers for Mukasey’s wife, who was there according to the program, and the Mukasey family.”

More updates after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Attorney General Mukasey Collapses at Federalist Society Dinner”

Chris Hook Christopher Hook DOJ Pride gay Above the Law blog.jpgNot everyone likes Attorney General Michael Mukasey. At Boston College Law School, students are protesting Dean John Garvey’s decision to invite Attorney General Mukasey to deliver the school’s 2008 Commencement address. See here (Facebook group: “Waterboarding IS Torture”), here, and here.
Why are liberals so unhappy about Mukasey? We’d expect the AG to receive a warmer reception, in light of this happy news, which made the pages of the Washington Post:

Five years after a gay advocacy group was told that it could no longer use the e-mail, bulletin boards and meeting rooms at the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has reversed that decision and issued a revised equal-employment-opportunity policy barring discrimination against any group.

Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department would give it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said the group’s president, Chris Hook. In a statement, Mukasey said the department will “foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood and sought” and maintain “an environment that’s free of discrimination.”

Writes a Department of Justice source:

Finally — now I can celebrate “Pride on Ice” anytime I want! Michael Mukasey gets two snaps in a circle for this decision!

In another sign of libertinism running rampant in the halls of justice, Lady Justice’s magnificent metal breastses are no longer covered up, as they were during the repressive Ashcroft regime (during which female DOJ lawyers had to wear burqas to court). But the credit for the breast-baring belongs to Alberto Gonzales.
Attorney General Mukasey Reverses Anti-Gay Policy at Justice Dept [Towleroad: A Site With Homosexual Tendencies]
Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department [Washington Post]
Boston College Law School Community Members Protests Mukasey [ACS Blog]
Mukasey Invitation Prompts the Question: “What has BC Law become?” [Eagleionline]

* “T.Owes.” [ESPN]
* Rebates to $500? [CNN]
* AG Mukasey won’t label waterboarding. [MSNBC]
* Sen. McCain wins Florida, Rudy to bow out. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Federal inquiry into stolen artifacts expands. [New York Times]
* Margaret Truman, only child of President Truman and author of mysteries set at the Supreme Court and the FBI, RIP. [AP]

* Resignation in Detroit text-message scandal (previously discussed here). [Detroit News]
* A proud American tradition unknown in the rest of the world: bail for profit. [New York Times]
* Legal luminaries at the SOTU. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Trial begins in alleged microwaving of infant. [CNN]
* TRO against Patriots’ Moss extended until after Super Bowl. [SI]
* Mortgage crisis may affect litigation departments. [WSJ Law Blog]
* U.S. jails Colombian FARC leader. [BBC]

* Judge Mark Filip (N.D. Ill.) picked to be Mukasey’s deputy. [AP via How Appealing]
* SCOTUS stays Florida execution like I said they would. [New York Times]
* Hmm…Bush administration didn’t properly consider impact of climate change…. shocking. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Hillary Clinton takes the gloves off, giving “her most commanding performance to date” in last night’s debate. [The Atlantic (Marc Ambinder)]

Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgThe Senate Judiciary Committee just voted in favor of the nomination of Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. The tally was 11-8, with two Democrats — Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein — joining all the Republicans in supporting him.
What had been looking like a nailbiter of a nomination should sail through the full Senate fairly easily. The floor vote on the nomination should take place by next week.
Congratulations, Judge Mukasey!
Nomination of Mukasey Sent to Full Senate [New York Times]
Panel Sends Mukasey Nomination to Senate [Washington Post]

Jan Crawford Greenburg 3.jpgOne of our favorite Supreme Court reporters, the fabulous Jan Crawford Greenburg, gave a speech at Harvard Law School today. But she didn’t tarry in Cambridge:

Not sure what is going on, but JCG just finished giving a speech at HLS and said that:

a) She was turning around to go back to Washington immediately (this was not her original plan) and that the folks in DC had actually wanted her to turn around and catch the next shuttle back right away this morning after she landed.

b) We should be sure to watch the news tonight.

Not sure if there is anything to this, but checking Drudge and everything else there don’t seem to be any legal headlines going on. So the whole thing just seemed sort of weird.

Sure, I guess a few hundred bucks is nothing to ABC News, but the whole thing just seemed sort of odd. So I thought I’d throw it your way in case there were any other rumors flying about.

Correction / Update: We’ve been advised that the foregoing information actually came from the remarks introducing Jan Crawford Greenburg, not from the speech of JCG herself, and was mentioned only by way of explaining why the event was being cut somewhat short (with a planned lunch cancelled).
Has anyone heard anything? Nothing over at JCG’s blog, Legalities, hints at the reason for her rapid return to Washington.
Might Jan Crawford Greenburg’s hasty retreat back to DC be related to the embattled nomination of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General? Maybe Mukasey will give her an exclusive interview, in which he will declare waterboarding “not cool”?
Your speculation, informed or otherwise, is welcome in the comments.
P.S. On the subject of Mukasey and waterboarding, see this editorial cartoon.
Mukasey Mulls Waterboarding [The Illustrated Daily Scribble]
Bush Moves to Save Mukasey Nomination [New York Times]
Open Thread — The Nomination of Michael Mukasey [WSJ Law Blog]
Mukasey Confirmation Unlikely as Sen. Kennedy Joins Opposition to President’s AG Nominee [Blogonaut]

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