George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a Swearing-In Ceremony for Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General

November 14, 2007

Thank you all very much. Good morning. I'm pleased to be back here at the Department of Justice and to join you for the swearing-in of Judge Michael Mukasey as the 81st Attorney General of the United States. We welcome Michael's wife Susan and their children Marc and Jessica, their son-in-law Corey, their grandchildren William and Benjamin, and other members of the Mukasey family. We share their pride in Michael on this important day. And I appreciate you all coming to witness it.

I particularly want to thank the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, who is here to swear-in the General. I want to thank members of my Cabinet who have taken time off to come and welcome a new Cabinet member. I appreciate very much that Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking member on the Senate Judici ary Committee, has joined us, along with Sam Brownback and Senator Lindsey Graham. Thank you all for coming. And thank you for making sure this good man not only made it to the floor of the Senate, but was confirmed.

I want to thank former Attorney General John Ashcroft, and welcome John as well as former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Thank you all for coming.

The job of the Attorney General is one of the most important in our Nation's Government. The Attorney General must run the world's largest law firm and the central Agency for enforcement of our Federal laws. He must aggressively prosecute gun criminals and drug dealers, hold corporate wrongdoers to account, protect victims of child abuse and domestic violence, and uphold the civil rights of every American.

In this time of war, the job of the Attorney General is also vital to America's national security. The Attorney General is responsible for our law enforcement community's efforts to detect, prevent, and disrupt terrorist attacks here at home. He must make certain that our intelligence and law enforcement communities work hand in hand to protect the American people from terrorist threats. He must ensure that we do everything within the law to defend the security of all Americans, while at the same time protecting the liberty of all Americans.

Judge Michael Mukasey is the right man to take on these vital challenges. Michael understands the law from both sides of the bench. He served for more than 18 years as a U.S. District Court judge in New York, including 6 years as the chief judge. He was a lawyer in private practice. He served as an assistant United States attorney in Manhattan, where he headed the Official Corruption Unit.

Judge Mukasey also understands the challenges facing our Nation in this time of war. He has written wisely on matters of constitutional law and national security. He knows what it takes to fight the war on terror effectively, and he knows how to do it in a matter that is consistent with our laws and our Constitution. He will bring clear purpose and resolve to the job of Attorney General. I look forward to working with him as a member of my Cabinet and a key player on our national security team.

Our new Attorney General—as our new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey follows in the footsteps of a fine man and a fine American, Al Gonzales. I have known Al since our days working together in the State of Texas. As White House Counsel and as Attorney General in my administration, Al Gonzales worked tirelessly to make this country safer and to ensure that all Americans received equal justice before the law. Over many years, I have witnessed his integrity, his decency, and his deep dedication to the cause of justice. I am grateful for his friendship. I thank him for his service to our Nation. And Laura and I wish him and his wife Becky and their children Jared, Graham, and Gabe, all the very best.

I also thank Peter Keisler, who has served as Acting Attorney General during Judge Mukasey's confirmation process. Peter delayed his plans to leave the Justice Department in order to ensure that the Department had strong leadership during these past months. I appreciate the job you've done.

With his departure, many of the most senior positions at the Department of Justice will now be vacant. In a time of war, it's vital that these positions be filled quickly. So in consultation with the Attorney General, I will announce tomorrow my nominations for several of these senior leadership positions. And I look forward to working with the Senate to fill these important positions at the Justice Department so that America has the strongest, most capable national security team in place.

As he embarks on his new responsibilities, Michael Mukasey has my complete trust and confidence. And he's going to have the trust and confidence of the men and women of the Department of Justice. The people here are good people, hard-working Americans. From the headquarters to U.S. attorneys offices to remote posts overseas, these fine Americans, judge, are working to keep the American people safe. They work every day to fulfill the most important function of the Federal Government, and that's to protect the American people from harm. Their efforts are essential to the security of America. The people who work for Justice deserve the very best leadership, and you're going to have it with Judge Michael Mukasey.

You'll find out what I found out. Judge Mukasey is a decent man, an outstanding lawyer, and a strong leader, and I am really looking forward to his wise counsel in the months ahead. Judge, I want to thank you for agreeing to serve our country once again, and congratulations.

And now I ask Chief Justice John Roberts to administer the oath of office.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:12 a.m. in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Attorney General Mukasey.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a Swearing-In Ceremony for Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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