In a move with deep historic resonance for the Jewish community, President George W. Bush has turned to a respected Jewish jurist to restore credibility to a controversy-damaged Justice Department. The nomination is winning praise from a range of Jewish leaders, though his positions on a range of issues of concern to Jewish groups, including church-state law and abortion, remain a mystery.
This week’s selection as attorney general of retired Judge Michael Mukasey, 66, who has deep roots in New York’s Modern Orthodox community, echoes the 1974 appointment of Edward Levi to take over a department scarred and demoralized by the Watergate scandals. Levi is the only Jewish attorney general in American history until now. . .
Today, major Muslim groups are being cautious in responding to the appointment.
“We won’t be taking any formal position on the nomination. Instead, we are hoping that whoever becomes attorney general will maintain the civil liberties of all Americans, an issue that has been the top concern of the American Muslim community,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
But he said his group will have “concerns about any nominee who favors aspects of the Patriot Act that we believe violate civil liberties.”
Mukasey’s status as an Orthodox Jew is “irrelevant,” Hooper said. “We would hope he would not allow his political and religious beliefs to cloud his judgment as attorney general, but that goes for any attorney general of any faith.” (MORE)