Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey Concerns Some on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey Concerns Some on Abortion Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 17,

Washington, DC ( — President Bush’s pick to replace Alberto Gonzales as the nation’s top attorney has some pro-life advocates a little concerned. Some say that former judge Michael Mukasey could present problems because of how he handled a case about a Chinese couple seeking asylum over forced abortions.

Mukasey, a retired federal judge, would help the president find a law-and-order type to fill Gonzales’ shoes, but pro-life advocates want to make sure the new Attorney General will follow the president’s strong pro-life views.

President Reagan appointed him to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of New York, but it’s a decision there that worries pro-life advocates.

In the 1994 case of Dong v. Slattery, Mukasey denied political asylum to a Chinese man who fled his country after he and his family were persecuted after they violated the nation’s one-child policy.

His wife was forced to have an abortion and he said he would be punished severely for trying to help her avoid it.

Mukasey ruled that current immigration laws did not allow asylum to be granted for the partners of women victimized in China, but allowed it for the women themselves. That legal analysis has been challenged by various courts in subsequent rulings.

Brian Burch, president of the Catholic pro-life group Fidelis, told the Associated Press that the ruling gives him pause about Mukasey’s nomination.

"His federal judicial record has been at times hostile to the issues that we care and have concern about, like abortion," Burch said.

"When it comes to other issues, particularly the issue of abortion we do not think his record is someone that we can trust, and we think the president should look at some other candidates," he added.

On the other hand, Jay Sekulow, a respeced pro-life attorney who is the lead counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, says he supports the nomination.

“The President’s nomination of Judge Mukasey is good for the Department of Justice and good for America,” he told “Judge Mukasey is a highly respected jurist and has a tremendous record of accomplishment."

Mukasey also faces criticism for the company he keeps.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a stridently pro-abortion New York Democrat, recommended Mukasey for the judicial post and issued positive comments in response to his selection for the Attorney General position.

"While he is certainly conservative, Judge Mukasey seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House, our most important criteria," he told the Washington Post Monday.

Mukasey’s name also shows up on a list of prominent moderate Republicans who are backing the presidential candidacy of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who backs abortion.