Thursday, November 20, 2008

A look at Obama's AG pick: Eric Holder

I've been searching around this morning trying to learn more about President-elect Barack Obama's reported choice for US Attorney General, Eric Holder, a former deputy AG from the Clinton Administration who briefly became acting head of DOJ at the end of Clinton's term. On the assumption Grits readers may not know much about him either, I thought I'd share some of the more interesting links I found:

The New Republic said "Holder has impeccable credentials as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and superior court judge appointed by Ronald Reagan." The Christian Science Monitor called him a "seasoned pick."

Doc Berman identifies three important things to know about Mr. Holder.

Agence France Press called him an "anti-graft crusader."

Jacob Sullum at Reason says Holder's appointment is a discouraging sign for "anyone who hoped the new administration would de-escalate the war on drugs." In the '90s he favored increasing the federal penalty for selling marijuana to a felony, though Scott Morgan at Stop the Drug War thinks it's too early to say if Holder still clings to such positions.

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has a lengthy feature in which he reminds us of Holder's pro-active maneuverings regarding the Marc Rich pardon scandal, and Glenn Greenwald at Salon looks at other possible obstacles to his nomination.

The Wall Street Journal says Holder's nomination is going down hard with the right and National Review opines the Holder nomination is "confirming fears" an Obama Administration would return to a "September 10 mentality."

Meanwhile, liberals at The Nation complain that he was too cozy with PATRIOT Act authors and supported its reauthorization. Mother Jones offers a piece from a reporter who covered Holder as the District of Columbia's US Attorney and sums up his legacy as "not much."

NPR interviewed a family friend who said he's a technology junkie but also an "insightful" attorney with a "calm demeanor."

Holder personally opposes the death penalty but has pursued it as a prosecutor and told Congress they should "feel very assured that ... those statutes that have death penalty provisions will be fully enforced by me."

UPDATE: Juvenile Justice Today analyzes Holder's positions on juvie justice topics and supplies a link to the transcript (pdf) from his 1997 Senate confirmation hearing.

NUTHER UPDATE: Doc Berman suggests topics for questioning at Holder's Senate confirmation hearing.


Deb said...

A couple things I've found: he's since recanted his complicity after 9/11...great, but still means he's weak and subject to interpreting the law according to political winds.

I'm seeking more info currently from free trade opponents regarding his representing Chiquita in a case where they funded paramilitaries (groups on our Terrorist Watch List) in Colombia.

Background here:

This article downplays the relationship on the basis of all deserving due process....rightly so...but that's why I seek more info - to make my own contextual determinations.

But this may be another indicator of his support of the war on drugs.

As for death penalty--I'm sure he'll do whatever Obama says, and we know what the worry is there...

Don Dickson said...

I'm just disappointed that the Obama Administration is already looking so much like the Clinton Administration.

This is "change?"

Anonymous said...

Of for crying out loud Don, this is change from the Republican Administration!

Democrats are what the nation voted for, and that is what we're going to get.

I sure hope it is all for the good because the "Current" administration sure has had a lot of failures.

Deb said...

Here's Jordan's blog on Holder/pot:

Deb said...

1:15, regarding the issues covered in Grits, many of Clinton's policies merely set the stage for Bush to further intensify.

Don is right to be concerned that we might be turning back the hands of time vs. progressing beyond failed policies.

Anonymous said...

The Obamanator is appointing Washington establishment total INSIDERS, many of who are the most disgusting war mongers on record.

There can be no change when the usual suspects like Buffet, Soros, Rockefeller, Bryzenski and Kissinger are controlling our staged elections.

I hope everyone knows not to give credence to terms like the "war on drugs" and the "war on terrorism" and the "war on poverty." Don't we know how these political myths are constructed by the ruling elite to control all.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious that people are already drawing major conclusions about Obama's administration before it even takes office.

I think there's a lot to like about the choice of Holder, especially on the subjects of the so-called "unitary" executive, warrantless wiretapping, and our non-adherence to the Geneva accords.

Certainly, after the egregious serial violations of the Constitution over the last 8 years (not to mention 2 failed wars, a tanked economy, and the destruction of a major American city), Holder's inattentive sign-off on the Rich pardon seems like small potatoes. Perspective, people!


Anonymous said...

Drug warrior, gun grabber and fan of tear-gas-fueled paramilitary raids to resolve child custody disputes. That's Eric Holder, our new Attorney General.

If my memory is serving me correctly, Holder got before congress and defended what Janet Reno did at Waco.

There will be no "change" only more of the same old Hawks and neocons.

Forget civil liberties

Anonymous said...

It's that time of year again!

Time to mark your Calendars for 2009 -

Black History Month - February

Native American Heritage Month - November

Asian Pacific Heritage Month - May

National Hispanic Heritage Month - Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It was a little more than an "inattentive signoff" on the Marc Rich pardon, Bill, Holder was actively helping the Rich folks maneuver the process.

To Don, I agree with you at a gut level. OTOH, most of the country remembers the Clinton years as a relative time of peace and prosperity compared to the last 8. And if he'd appointed a bunch of newbies, everybody'd be fretting about the experience factor.

I hadn't seen anything about Holder defending the Waco raid - THAT should be interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

For those interested in juvenile justice, we ran this piece on his public positions on the issue...most of it from his 1997 confirmation hearing, which we got a copy of.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Here's a good link for the JJ Today piece.

W W Woodward said...

Real Change? Looks like a bunch of lobbyists, ex-Clinton appointees, and the regular Washington in-crowd. But, what else should we expect from a Daly protege?

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

It is all about the criminal mercantilism of those that rule: