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Leahy, Feinstein Urge Justice To Fill Vacant U.S. Attorney Posts

With support flagging for the president's pick to be the next attorney general, two Senate Democrats are pressing the acting attorney general to fill some of the U.S. attorney posts that lack a permanent occupant.

Twenty-three of the 93 U.S. attorney slots are occupied by acting or interim prosecutors, according to a letter Senate Judiciay Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his colleague on the panel, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, sent to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler Wednesday.

The two Democrats urged Keisler to nominate full-time replacements for the 21 posts in which the administration has failed to tap a successor to the federal prosecutors who initially vacated the post.

"We write to inquire whether you and the Administration are working with the Senators whose States encompass each of those districts to identify and nominate strong and independent U.S. Attorneys," the two senators wrote.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced his intent Wednesday to vote against Michael Mukasey, the administration's nominee to be the next attorney general, after the former federal judge refused to qualify simulated drowning, otherwise known as "water-boarding," as a federal crime.