I knew Judge Mukasey was an Orthodox Jew - though I had never heard of him before last week, I had read the bio
that Memphis Bill linked to
and saw this JPost article
a day before bigel linked
The JBlogs were on to this even earlier - Yeshiva World
was tipped off by Nachum Segal, and Daled Amos
linked to a pdf of his shul bulletin after he was awarded Chattan Breishit there (in 2004). David Linn commented there
I appeared before him on a few occasions and found him to be tough as nails but extremely fair.
Of course, bigel was wrong about the mainstream (more subtle) Jew-haters jumping on this, but as Elder of Zion
pointed out, the loonies at The People's Voice and Vanguard News Network and some others are more open in their hatred.
More importantly, Elder links to a NY Times article
from the 2003 Sheik Rahman trial, that shows him to be, as David said, tough but fair, when it came to accomodating the Muslims their religious practices without allowing them to use religion to bully everyone else, as Elder puts it.
Now, I was somewhat surprised when I heard politicians from both sides (from Chuck Schumer to Rudy Giuliani) say he was an excellent choice - when do politicians agree about a nominee? Then I saw that every single one of Judge Mukasey's former law clerks signed a glowing letter of recommendation for the judge, in which they praise him as a jurist and mentor and urge his speedy confirmation as AG.
I think that says a lot.
But what really touched me was this JTA piece
In the aftermath of her son Ari's murder by an Arab gunman on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994, Devorah Halberstam was introduced to a federal judge for the Southern District of New York with a longstanding interest in terrorism-related issues.
In the years since, Judge Michael Mukasey became a fixture in the life of Ari's family, keeping a photo of the slain teenager on the mantle in his chambers, meeting regularly with his mother and in March, receiving the memorial award established in Ari's memory.
Mukasey even attended the weddings of Ari's siblings, one of which required him to endure torrential rainstorms during the outdoor ceremony. But he stayed until its conclusion, Halberstam said, even though he was drenched.
"That is the kind of a person he is," Halberstam said. "He's an immaculate human being. You don't find people like that."
Now that's what I call a Mensch.[Some background on Ari Halberstam here and here.]