The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Judge Michael Mukasey’s nomination as attorney general on Tuesday, despite his refusal to define water-boarding as torture. Two Democrats, Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Charles Schumer (NY), voted with the Republicans on the committee making the vote 11-8. Mukasey’s nomination will now move to the full Senate.
Mukasey’s nomination is opposed by human rights organizations due to his refusal to define water-boarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, as torture. After World War II, the United States condemned the practice and prosecuted it as a war crime, reports the New York Times.
“When the history of this time is written, the issue of torture will define America’s values in the age of terrorism,” said Judiciary Committee member Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) in the New York Times, “Judge Mukasey’s responses to our questions on the issue of torture make it clear that he does not understand the challenge of this moment in history.”