Gonzales a no-show at Mukasey swearing-in fete

It’s official: Michael Mukasey is our nation’s top lawyer.

Technically, he’s been in that role since Friday, when he was quietly sworn in. But today he had a public ceremony, with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with.

On hand for the occasion was, of course, President George W. Bush, U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who swore in Mukasey, and former attorneys general John Ashcroft and Dick Thornburgh. Conspicuously absent: Mukasey’s predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.

But Bush had kind words for the former attorney general, who resigned after nearly a year of turbulence in the Justice Department caused by scandals over the firings of U.S. attorneys and allegations of politically-motivated prosecutorial decision making.

“As our new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey follows in the footsteps of a fine man and a fine American: Al Gonzales,” Bush said to applause. “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.”

See the full text of the president’s remarks here on the White House’s website. More on the ceremony here from the Associated Press.

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