[JURIST] Former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey [PBWT profile] is emerging as the leading candidate to head the US Department of Justice, the New York Times and AP reported Saturday. Mukasey, who retired from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2006 after 18 years, has been previously endorsed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) [official website] for the US Supreme Court and is seen as a likely reconciliatory nominee who could receive approval from Senate Democrats. Mukasey has presided over a variety of high-profile cases including the terrorism trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman [MIPT profile] for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Mukasey ruled [PDF text] in March of 2003 that Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] had to be allowed to meet with counsel despite being classified as an "enemy combatant" [JURIST news archive].
Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive] resigned as attorney general late last month after a controversial 2 1/2 year stint. Others including former Solicitor General Theodore Olson [JURIST report], have been touted as possible candidates for the AG post, but Senate Democrats have vowed to oppose Olson's nomination [JURIST report]. In the interim, Solicitor General Paul Clement [official profile] is currently serving as acting attorney general. The New York Times has more. AP has additional coverage.