Could Mukasey Already Have A New DAG In Mind?
Louis Freeh (left), the former FBI director, sat with Michael Mukasey’s family and other supporters yesterday as the nominee answered questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation hearing is scheduled to continue today. (Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)
Something in the front row of the spectator’s gallery kept catching my eye as I watched the stock footage of the Mukasey confirmation hearings being played over and over on Friday–I kept thinking isn’t that Louis Freeh in the front row? So, on Saturday Morning I did a little googling and lo and behold! — it WAS Louis!
What would Louis Freeh be doing at that hearing? Hmmmm?
As you know I have been lamenting, weeping and wailing and gnashing my teeth over the flight of talent away from DOJ and into the private sector and academia. I have long insisted that if someone actually wanted to rebuild and restore DOJ and do something about the horrible morale there, it would take an iconic or charismatic new AG.
Now, Judge Mukasey is very well thought of as a jurist and legal mind back here in the Big Apple, but “charisma guy”???? I don’t think so.
Louis on the other hand IS a bit of an iconic figure. He started out as an FBI agent, later became an AUSA in SDNY, became a federal judge after that, and left the bench and became FBI Director. I remember how jazzed so many rank and file FBI agents were when that appointment was announced. One of them, one of the working stiffs had actually gotten the big job.
Though his management skills may not place him up among the most efficient Bureau Directors, no one accused him of being a lapdog to President Clinton. Janet Reno will vouch for his willingness to cross his higher ups.
Louis’ became a well known figure in law enforcement circles by prosecuting the Pizza Connection case when he was an AUSA in NYC. Every chance I got, I used to hop next door to the courthouse and watch that trial.
Louis put together a first rate team. He got some very fine lawyers to work for him, not just in the courtroom where the glory was, but back at the office where it was all hard work and no recognition. He motivated his agents. Throughout his career he has demonstrated the ability to attract really talented people and get them to work according to his vision.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Freeh was Director under Bill Clinton, Louis is VERY VERY conservative in both his private and public lives. He is no civil libertarian either. Have you heard of “Carnivore“???
So, you should expect that the sort of people who would be giving up private practice, a general counsel’s office or a teaching job if he asked them to come back to government service and fill in the hollowed out middle management of DOJ will be of similar bent; but I also expect that they will be talented and competent lawyers–not more Monicas, Brads or Tims.
So my guess, and it’s only a guess (but my guess about Mukasey turned out pretty lucky, so I’m encouraged to stick my neck out again) is that maybe Mukasey/Schumer have Freeh in mind for Deputy Attorney General (DAG).
[Ed. note: Do click on the “Big Apple” link above and read Wayne Barret’s excellent connect the dots about the incredibly incestuous metro New York legal community.]