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Tag: Eric Holder

Eric Holder Applauds The Nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Obama has nominated Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, 55, to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. She would be the first black woman to head up the department.

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement Saturday:

 “Loretta Lynch is an extraordinarily talented attorney, a dedicated public servant, and a leader of considerable experience and consummate skill. I am certain that she will be an outstanding Attorney General, and I am delighted to join President Obama in congratulating her on this prestigious appointment.

“Throughout her career, and especially during her tenure as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York – during both the Clinton and Obama Administrations – Loretta has earned the trust and respect of Justice Department employees at every level, in Washington and throughout the country. She is held in high regard by criminal justice, law enforcement, and civil rights leaders of all stripes. And from her time as a career attorney, prosecuting high-profile public corruption cases, to her leadership of sensitive financial fraud and national security investigations, she has proven her unwavering fidelity to the law – and her steadfast dedication to protecting the American people.”

 

Justice Department Releases 64,000+ Pages of Fast & Furious Documents to U.S. House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After resisting for years, the Justice Department finally sent Congress 64,280 pages of documents involving the botched Fast and Furious investigation on Tuesday, the Washington Times reports.

The disclosure prompted Republicans to assert that President Obama was acknowledging he had withheld the documents illegally by claiming executive privilege.

The House of Representatives even sued for the documents’ release.

“When Eric Holder wants to know why he was the first attorney general held in criminal contempt of Congress, he can read the judge’s order that compelled the production of 64,280 pages that he and President Obama illegitimately and illegally withheld from Congress,” said Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

The administration is not backing down from its position that the documents did not need to be released.

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Emerges As Top Candidate to Replace AG Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The next U.S. attorney general may be the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, the New York Post reports, citing “well-placed sources.”

The short list of candidates to replace Attorney General Eric Holder is Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban-American lawyer.

“He’s one of the top candidates. He has all the qualifications needed to succeed in the job,” one insider said.

Mayorkas is backed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, which is the nation’s largest law enforcement officers’ organization.

“The FOP enthusiastically supported his nomination to his current post as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and it has been a true pleasure working with him in that capacity over the last year,” Canterbury wrote. “We have no doubt that Mr. Mayorkas has the requisite ability and experience to lead the U.S. Justice Department and meet the challenges in the years ahead.”

Other names that have emerged are Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

First-Amendment Lawyer: AG Eric Holder Has Some Wrongs to Correct Before Leaving

By David A. Schulz
For Washington Post

As Eric Holder reflects on his six years as attorney general, one disturbing aspect of his legacy should give him significant pause. On Holder’s watch, legal protections traditionally afforded to communications between reporters and sources have been torn down, potentially damaging for years to come the media’s ability to uncover and report on government missteps. The attorney general should acknowledge the problems and address them before leaving office.

Holder has faced harsh criticism for pursuing two related strategies that undermined reporter-source communications. The first denied that any “reporter’s privilege” exists — and just this year the Supreme Court let stand an appellate court ruling adopting Holder’s position.

That ruling came in response to a prosecutor’s demand that Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen disclose his source for a report on the CIA’s effort to subvert Iran’s nuclear program. Although a reporter’s privilege has been recognized for decades in other contexts, a divided court of appealsaccepted the Justice Department’s argument that no evidentiary privilege allowed Risen to refuse to identify his source in a criminal prosecution. Under this ruling, the question of whether to require a reporter to reveal a source rests with the prosecutor alone.

The ruling is an unflinching rejection of a reporter’s right to make a binding promise of confidentiality in exchange for information. It is a direct assault on the foundation of trust needed for effective investigative reporting and threatens to limit severely disclosures by government whistleblowers. That Holder’s Justice Department fought for just this ruling caused some media lawyers to label this administration “worse than Nixon” for the free press.

The impact of this ruling is compounded by a second Holder strategy: relaxing regulations limiting prosecutors’ surreptitious surveillance of reporters’ communications.
To read more click here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Tells Thousands of Cops That Many Departments Need to Address Community Tension and Trust

Attorney General Eric Holder in Orlando

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eric Holder delivered his last speech as Attorney General on Monday before the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Orlando. He’s stepping down from the job.

During his speech before thousands of law enforcement folks, Holder mentioned Ferguson, Mo., and the need for police to address the issues of tension and mistrust between the community and the police departments.

“As our nation’s Attorney General, I have always been proud – and steadfast – in my support for law enforcement personnel and their families, who make tremendous and often unheralded sacrifices every single day to keep us safe.

“These sacrifices are too often overlooked. And I believe we do ourselves, our communities, and our nation a grave disservice if we ignore these difficulties – just as we do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss, or fail to address, the conditions and lingering tensions that exist just beneath the surface in so many places across the country – and that were brought to the surface, and raised to the urgent attention of this group and others, by this summer’s events in Ferguson, Missouri. ”

“As law enforcement leaders, it is incumbent upon each of us to take constructive, inclusive steps to rebuild trust and instill respect for the rule of law in all of the communities where these tensions are uncovered.”

Holder was touching on a sensitive subject. While cops understand the tensions in the community, they often feel misunderstood, and  that the challenges they face in policing are glossed over when it comes to addressing such issues.

Holder, who didn’t deliver the speech with a lot of passion, is also seen as a surrogate for President Obama. And frankly, a fair amount of folks in law enforcement aren’t in love with the president.  I had a former federal agent tell me that the following day.

In fact, a video message from President Obama was played Monday before thousands of law enforcement officers. Obama said he was grateful for the jobs they do and the sacrifices they make.

When the video ended, there was polite applause, but it was clear the clapping was not done with a lot of love.

It’s an important issue Holder talked about. And addressing that issue can help the community and police departments.

Hopefully, some of the cops can appreciate the message and not worry about who delivered it.

 

Top-Level Vacancies in Justice Department Are Significant Challenge, Opportunity for President Obama

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama is faced with a significant challenge and opportunity.

The top three jobs at the Justice Department will soon be vacant, and just four of Obama’s 11 choices for assistant attorney generals have been confirmed, CBS News reports.

The vacancies leave a power vacuum at an agency that has been very active in law enforcement issues.

“It’s always a challenge because the senior-level positions require Senate confirmation, and it can be difficult to move these nominees through a confirmation vote,” Thomas Dupree, who served as deputy assistant attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, told CBS News. At the same time, he said, “It’s an opportunity for [the president] to identify new people who will bring new energy and new ideas into the administration.”

The vacancies also offer a good opportunity for the administration “to look at the whole matrix” of skills and experience that fit the needs of the country, said Robert Raben, an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.

Justice Department Wants to End Profiling Based Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation

By Steve Neavling

tickethewire.com

The days of profiling may be over for federal law enforcement, according to a report obtained by the Washington Post.

The ban on profiling would apply to people based on their ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

One impact of the policy, for example, would be prohibiting surveillance of mosques without proof of wrongdoing.

No exemption will be given for national security investigations either, the Post reports.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his upcoming retirement from the position won’t stop him from pursuing this.

“There remains a great deal to be done,” he said. “I have no intention of letting up or slowing down.”

From Good to Great: AG Eric Holder Championed for Civil Rights Like No One Before Him

By Jamelle Bouie
Slate

On Thursday the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner joined with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the National Bar Association, and the Black Women’s Roundtable to call for a full federal investigation in the police killings of the two young men.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was part of the event, and he was about to take questions from those assembled when the news broke that Attorney General Eric Holder intended to resign from the administration. Naturally, Sharpton had a few words for the occasion.

“There is no attorney general who has shown a commitment to civil rights like Eric Holder,” said Sharpton, “If he is resigning, the civil rights community is losing the most effective civil rights attorney general in American history.”

That is high praise, but it’s hard to say it’s unreasonable or unjustified. When President Obama entered office, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was in shambles, neglected by President Bush and staffed with a coterie of partisan operatives. Long-serving lawyers left the office, case files were closed with little explanation, political appointees sought to block liberals from career positions, and anti-discrimination efforts were few and far between.

At his confirmation hearing at the beginning of Obama’s term, Holder made the Civil Rights Division his priority.

To that end, Holder took aggressive steps to repair the damage of the previous administration and restore the traditional priorities of the Civil Rights Division. On voting rights, Holder was a strong advocate against voter identification laws, attacking the 2012 Texas law as a “political pretext to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right” and comparing some practices to Jim Crow laws. “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them—and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes,” he said.

To read more click here.

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