Michael Mukasey was sworn in as the 81st attorney general of the United States.
President Bush at the ceremonial swearing-in Wednesday said the retired federal judge was “the right man” to lead the beleaguered Justice Department and would “bring clear purpose and resolve” to the department.
Mukasey, an Orthodox Jew who was sworn in privately on Friday so he could begin his work, pledged to Justice Department employees to “help you continue to protect” U.S. interests with a “neutral and even-handed application of the Constitution.”
The U.S. Senate confirmed Mukasey last week by a 53-40 vote. His confirmation was nearly toppled after Mukasey refused to say whether he believes the interrogation tactic known as waterboarding is a form of torture.
Mukasey’s ascension to attorney general follows a series of controversies that led to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, who did not attend the swearing-in of his successor.