President Bush nominates Michael Mukasey as next Attorney General

by Brian Mooar
NBC News

A Washington outsider has the inside track to become the next Attorney General.

President Bush has chosen retired federal judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales.

Now many of the lawmakers skeptical about the President's choice are members of his own party.

"The Justice Department will be in the hands of a great lawyer and an accomplished public servant," the President said when announcing his decision.

As a federal judge in New York Mukasey handled high-profile terror trials, like that of accused dirty bomber Jose Padilla and the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center back in 1993.

He's considered tough, but fair.

Perhaps just as important -- he's not a Washington insider.

Democrats accused Gonzales of putting the wishes of his boss over the Constitution and firing federal prosecutors who didn't appear to be in lockstep with the administration.

Critics say the next attorney general will have to rebuild trust in the Justice Department.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the current system is greatly flawed," said Senator Arlen Spector.

Last week the President appeared to be leaning toward a more conservative nominee.

Democrats appear to be pleased he didn't.

"For once, the president did not choose the path of most resistance," said New York Senator Charles Schumer.  "Judge Mukasey is not a crony of the president and not a White House insider, and that's a good sign."

For now the most resistance is coming from skeptical conservatives who're asking whether Michael Mukasey is the right man for the job.