Eric Holder is Obama’s Choice for U.S. Attorney General

November 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm 1 comment

eric-holder-attorney-general.jpgU.S. President-elect Barack Obama has conditionally offered Eric Holder the job as attorney general, and the former top Clinton administration official has accepted, a senior Democrat said on Tuesday.

Before the offer becomes official, Obama’s team wants to determine if Holder could win Senate confirmation with broad bipartisan support and clean up a Justice Department wracked by scandals during George W. Bush’s presidency, the Democrat said.
“We know we have the votes for Senate confirmation, but we want to make sure he would have broad support so he can make needed reforms,” said the Democrat, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
Since Obama’s election two weeks ago, the 57-year-old Holder, the deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton, has emerged as the top candidate for the job as the nation’s top law enforcement and legal officer who deals with issues like terrorism and crime.
Obama is the first black elected president, and Holder would be the first black to head the Justice Department.
As attorney general, Holder would play a key role in setting policy on prosecuting terrorism cases while protecting civil liberties.
Like Obama, Holder has said the United States must reverse “the disastrous course” set by the Bush administration in the struggle against terrorism by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba that now holds about 250 prisoners.
Holder also has said the United States must stop sending individuals to nations that engage in torture, must cease warrantless domestic surveillance and must declare without qualification the United States does not torture people.
The Bush administration, which denies torturing suspects, has been criticized by human rights groups for using waterboarding, a widely condemned technique that simulates drowning, and other tough interrogation methods on al Qaeda suspects captured after the September 11 attacks.
CONTROVERSIAL PARDON
The source said Democrats in the Senate were trying to gauge how much opposition there would be to Holder from Republicans over his role in Clinton’s controversial 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
Holder at the time said he was “neutral, leaning toward favorable” on the pardon. Justice Department prosecutors were upset he did not oppose the pardon, issued on Clinton’s last day in office. Rich’s ex-wife was a major donor to Clinton and the Democratic Party.
The senior Democrat said at this point the Rich pardon does not appear to be “a fatal flaw concern.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general last week listed “restoring confidence” at number five among the department’s top 10 challenges for 2008.
“The immediate challenge for the attorney general and the department’s leadership is to ensure that the serious problems and misconduct we found regarding politicized hiring for career positions and the dismissal of U.S. attorneys do not recur,” his report said.
The scandals which hurt the Justice Department’s reputation included findings that department officials used political factors in the hiring and firing of federal prosecutors and other Justice Department employees.
Two Justice Department officials said Holder, a former prosecutor who handled corruption cases, a local judge and then the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., was generally respected, admired and well regarded by career employees.
“We’re very happy with the choice,” said one official who knew Holder when he had previously been at the department.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who would hold a confirmation hearing on the attorney general nominee, has been complimentary of Holder in the past. But he had no comment on the possible nomination on Tuesday.
Holder helped vet candidates to become Obama’s vice presidential running mate and has been a senior legal adviser for Obama’s presidential campaign.
A partner at the law firm Covington & Burling in the District of Columbia, Holder was not immediately available for comment.
Source: Reuters

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Andrew Yu-Jen Wang  |  March 8, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Speaking of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

    Eric Holder is a racial-minority individual, and in his heart and mind he inevitably does not endorse hate crimes committed by George W. Bush.

    George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

    George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

    And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

    Many people know what Bush did.

    And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

    Bush was absolute evil.

    Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

    Bush is a psychological prisoner.

    Bush has a lot to worry about.

    Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

    In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

    Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    “GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY” BLOG OF ANDREW YU-JEN WANG
    _____________________
    I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

    Reply

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