Civil Rights Questions for Mukasey

26 09 2007

Interesting post on DMIblog.

On September 17, 2007, President Bush announced his nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general of the United States. As the head of the world’s largest law office, the chief enforcer of federal laws, and the primary guardian of our Constitutional rights, the next attorney general must be thoroughly scrutinized by the Senate Judiciary Committee when it comes to his views on civil rights issues such as voting rights, education, and housing discrimination. Towards that end, here is a list of questions for Judge Mukasey to answer regarding his commitment to equal opportunity and combating discrimination.

Questions for Mukasey

Politicization. Will you commit to fully cooperating with the Justice Department’s Inspector General investigation of the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys by Alberto Gonzales in 2005, the politicization of the hiring process at the Justice Department, and its the impact on the Civil Rights Division? Will you ensure that the ongoing investigations by the Justice Department’s Inspector General are carried out thoroughly and impartially with the full cooperation of current and former employees? And what will you do to rehabilitate the morale of the civil rights division?

Voting Rights. In recent years, the Department of Justice pursued cases that block rather than enhance access to the vote. Will you commit to a program of enforcement that returns the Civil Rights Division to the pursuit of voter access? Given the chilling effect criminal fraud prosecutions have on voters on the eve of elections, will you commit to clearly defining the contours of the relationship between the Civil Rights Division and the Criminal Division in the execution of the Department’s election monitoring programs? Will you commit to using the NVRA to promote voter registration, using the Voting Rights Act to challenge discriminatory voter identification laws, and interpreting HAVA expansively? Will you commit to increasing, not diminishing, access to the political process for racial, ethnic and language minorities?

Police Misconduct and Racial Profiling. In recent years, the Department of Justice has all but halted its enforcement of certain laws against systematic police misconduct. Will you commit to investigating and bringing lawsuits against police departments that reveal a pattern or practice of police misconduct? Will you commit to supporting the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), which builds on the guidance issued by the Department of Justice in June 2003 to ban the use of racial and ethnic profiling by local, state, and federal law enforcement officials? Will you also commit to implementing a substantive review process to ensure federal compliance with ERPA, including the data collections requirements?

Read the rest here. Read up on the importance of the Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey here.

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