New York, New York , United States
|| July 28, 1941
Mar 16, 2013 07:51pm
|Info||Michael B. Mukasey (born 1941) is an American lawyer, of Russian Jewish origin, who was for 18 years a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, six of them serving as Chief Judge. On September 16, 2007, sources suggest that President George W. Bush will nominate Mukasey to serve as the 81st Attorney General of the United States, succeeding Alberto Gonzales. |
Mukasey attended Columbia (B.A. 1963) and Yale Law School (LL.B. 1967). He practiced law for twenty years in New York City, serving for four years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the federal prosecutor's office in which he worked with Rudolph Giuliani. Later, he was as a member of the New York law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.
In 1987, Mukasey was nominated as a federal judge in Manhattan by President Ronald Reagan. He served in that position for 18 years and was Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York from 2000 to July 2006. During his tenure on the bench, Mukasey presided over the criminal prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman and El Sayyid Nosair, whom he sentenced to life in prison for a plot to blow up the United Nations and other Manhattan landmarks uncovered during an investigation into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During that case, Mukasey spoke out against leaks by law-enforcement officials regarding the facts of the case allegedly aimed at prejudicing potential jurors against the defendants. Chief Judge Mukasey also heard the trial of Jose Padilla, ruling that the U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist could be held as an enemy combatant but was entitled to see his lawyers. Mukasey also was the judge in the litigation between developer Larry Silverstein and several insurance companies arising from the destruction of the World Trade Center. In a 2003 suit, the judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Motion Picture Association of America from enforcing its ban against the distribution of screener copies of films during awards season, ruling that the ban was likely an unlawful restraint of trade unfair to independent filmmakers.
In June 2003, Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer submitted Mukasey's name, along with four other Republicans or Republican appointees, as a suggestion for President George W. Bush to consider for nomination to the Supreme Court. On the March 18, 2007, episode of Meet the Press, Schumer again suggested Mukasey as a potential Attorney General nominee who, "by [his] reputation and character, shows that [he] put rule of law first."
In June 2006, Mukasey announced that he would retire as a judge and return to private practice at the end of the summer. On August 1, 2006, he was succeeded as Chief Judge of the Southern District by Judge Kimba Wood. Mukasey's retirement took effect on September 9, 2006. On September 12, 2006, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler announced that Mukasey had rejoined the firm as a partner. 
On August 22, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published Mukasey's op-ed, prompted by the resolution of the Padilla prosecution, in which he argued that "current institutions and statutes are not well suited to even the limited task of supplementing . . . a military effort to combat Islamic terrorism." Mukasey instead advocated for Congress, which "has the constitutional authority to establish additional inferior courts," to "turn [its] considerable talents to deliberating how to fix a strained and mismatched legal system."
Chief Judge Mukasey's son, Marc L. Mukasey, leads the white-collar criminal defense practice in the New York office of Bracewell & Giuliani.
Since retiring from the bench, Mukasey has made campaign contributions to Rudy Giuliani for president and Joe Lieberman for Senate. Mukasey is also listed on the Giuliani campaign's Justice Advisory Committee.
Appointment as Attorney General
On September 16, 2007, The Washington Post reported that President Bush will pick Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales as the Attorney General.
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