Former Bush Official Says Supreme Court Critics 'Hallucinate Misconduct' (VIDEO)

Michael Mukasey

Michael Mukasey

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey — who led the Justice Department from 2007 to 2009 under then-President George W. Bush — has declined to say if he would avoid appearances of impropriety with wealthy individuals if he were still serving as a jurist.

Mukasey was also the chief judge of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York until 2006.

Mukasey was presented with a hypothetical by Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday about the blossoming ethics scandals involving Supreme Court Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas. Chief Justice John Roberts — whose wife reportedly earned millions in "commissions" recruiting talent for legal firms that argued cases before the Court — has repeatedly and vociferously declined to participate in congressional discussions regarding the uniquely powerful institution's capacity to hold itself accountable.

"Judge Mukasey, I'm, I'm not in any way questioning or even seeking to interrogate your personal conduct. What I'm, what I'm asking you is that, as a judge, is it fair to say that you most likely would've declined an offer of foreign travel worth hundreds of thousands of dollars because quite reasonably, you would've had the concern that public disclosure of such travel could have undermined public confidence in the impartiality of your judgment" Ossoff posited.

"Simply because it amounted to, I mean, if somebody took me, I mean, if, if I were a district judge and somebody wanted to fly me on his private plane, um, on a vacation with his family and I were friendly with that person, would I have refused and endangered the friendship? I'm not sure that I would've," Mukasey replied.

"Well," Ossoff responded, "I think the American public sees that kind of conduct and quite reasonably ask the question whether it's appropriate."

Mukasey also alleged throughout his testimony that the public is being encouraged to "hallucinate misconduct" to "undermine" the credibility of the Court, opining that "if the public has a mistaken impression that the integrity of the Court has been damaged, the fault for that lies with those who continue to level unfair criticisms of the Court and its justices."

Concerned individuals following along on social media were exasperated – albeit somewhat unshocked – by Mukasey's perspective.

Chidi: "Every judge should find themselves a wealthy friend. The rot is deeper than we thought."

Charles Campisi: "Michael Mukasey as Attorney General for George W. Bush defended the use of waterboarding & other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' - i.e., torture. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Mukasey is skeptical about having a code of ethics for the Supreme Court."

Novelette Drydon: "He comes off as another unethical one. You can't ruin a friendship, by declining for ethical reasons."

Roy Edroso: "We all know how mad sugar daddies get when you refuse their private jet rides."

HL Bacall: "This isn't rocket science. American citizens have a right to expect that all government employees, even those on the Supreme Court who think they're above the law, will avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety and that there will be consequences for inappropriate acts."

Veronica@V2342: "They're all in on it... If they don't try to stop this now stories about their own misconduct will also be revealed. It's why they're working so hard to tamp it down."

Joyce: "Analogy: He did it too."

Kate S: "Maybe those whose actions are calling into question the integrity of the court should be the ones being slammed? The criticism isn't unfair. Some of the Justices' actions are at the VERY LEAST creating the appearance of impropriety. Shifting blame to the public is deplorable."

Watch Mukasey's statement below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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