Washington State Supreme Court Judge speaks out against Mukasey

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Judge yelled 'tyrant' before Mukasey collapsed

Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday November 26, 2008
Before Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed last week at a speech to the conservative Federalist Society, one audience member could not contain his disapproval with the speech's subject matter.

Mukasey's defense of President Bush's policies on prisoner treatment and their indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay was too much for Washington State Supreme Court Judge Richard Sanders.

He shouted, "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!"

Sanders acknowledged his conduct in an interview with The Seattle Times.

"Frankly, everybody in the room was applauding or sometimes laughing, and I thought, 'I've got to stand up and say something.' And I did," he told the paper. "I stood up and said, 'Tyrant,' then I sat down again, then I left."

The outburst came well before Mukasey's collapse and likely did not contribute to it. Sanders left before the end of Mukasey's speech because he wasn't enjoying himself, he told the paper.

While he regrets shouting at the country's top law enforcement officer, Sanders says he still believes the policies Mukasey was advocating -- namely that the US is not obligated to adhere to the Geneva conventions in battling al Qaeda -- could lead to "tyranny." In the speech, Mukasey argued that because the international terrorist group didn't sign the convention, the US shouldn't be bound by them, but Sanders said that wasn't the point.

"I didn't sign the Geneva Conventions, you didn't sign the Geneva Conventions, but the United States did sign the Conventions," he told the Times. "And that's the point, isn't it?"


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