Monday, September 17, 2007

George ♥ Rudy?

Is the nomination of former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey to be the new U.S. Attorney General an implicit endorsement of the presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani by George Bush?

Much has already been made of the fact that Bush passed over "insiders" who were close to his circle or formerly part of his administration (such as former Solicitor General Ted Olson) in order to choose the largely unknown Mukasey. As the Washington Post reports today:

Mukasey would be the latest in a string of key Bush appointments that come from outside Texas or the president's inner circle and seem less ideological than some of his previous appointments.
Less is made of Mukasey's longstanding ties to Rudolph Giuliani. One has to scroll down far into the AP article on the nomination to find this:
Mukasey, a partner at New York-based law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, is also a close friend to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican. He is stepping down as an adviser to Giuliani's presidential campaign, on which he served as part of an advisory committee on judicial nominations.
Even that revelation is incomplete. Writing in the New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein notes this background:

For decades, Judge Mukasey has been a close friend of Mayor Giuliani. He worked beneath Mr. Giuliani both at Patterson Belknap and at the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. It was Mr. Mukasey who swore in Mayor-elect Giuliani in 1994 and 1998. Along with Mr. Olson, Judge Mukasey currently advises the Giuliani campaign on judicial matters. Judge Mukasey's son, Marc, is a partner in the New York office of Mr. Giuliani's law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Given his close ties to Mr. Giuliani, Judge Mukasey has faced teasing from friends who have told him not to get too comfortable back at his firm given the prospect of a Giuliani presidency, a source said.

Given the wide range of qualified, potential Attorney General nominees -- including some lawyers who might be advising John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Ron Paul -- is Bush's choice of Mukasey meant to send a signal to GOP activists about the president's preference for the top of the ticket in 2008?

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