Under questioning from Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Eric Holder, the attorney-general nominee, said waterboarding is torture.
"I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, waterboarding is torture," Holder said in what amounts to a dramatic reversal of the Justice Department's policy under President Bush.
Holder also rejected the argument made by Bush administration officials that the president's power in an a national emergency overrode constitutional restrictions.
"No one is above the law," Holder said.
Leahy also questioned Holder's view on the Second Amendment, specificially whether the right to bear arms is an individual, not a collective, right. The Supreme Court ruled as such in a recent case striking down the District of Columbia's handgun ban.
"The Supreme Court has spoken," Holder said. "That is now the law of the land."