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Tag: Eric Holder

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.

Other Stories of Interest

Breaking: Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to Resign

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who had been rumored for a while now to be getting ready to step down, is resigning, the New York Times reports.

The Justice Department made the announcement and said Holder will remain in office until a successor is confirmed.

Holder became the first African-American attorney general, and was considered a liberal voice. He stuck around after President Barack Obama’s first term, long after others in the administration had left.

Names that have surfaced as possible replacements, according to the New York Times, include:

Kathryn Ruemmler, the former White House counsel; Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts; Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the former solicitor general; former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island; and Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn.

To read more, click here.

Federal Prison Population Drops for First Time in Decades Under AG Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the first time in several decades, the federal inmate population has decreased, the Associated Press reports.

The Justice Department revealed that roughly 4,800 fewer inmates were incarcerated last year than the year before.

Attorney General Eric Holder said he anticipates the inmate population to be about 250,000 next week, which is the end of the budget cycle.

“This is nothing less than historic,” Holder said, addressing a conference at the New York University School of Law that was hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice. “To put these numbers in perspective, 10,000 inmates is the rough equivalent of the combined populations of six federal prisons, each filled to capacity.”

Holder has been working to reduce the prison population, saying its costly and contains too many nonviolent offenders.

Fresh DOJ loss in ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs Fight

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder/doj photo

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to keep the courts from wading into the “Fast and Furious” documents dispute that led to him being held in contempt by the House last year.

In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration’s response to the “Operation Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.

To read more click here.

 

Is Attorney General Eric Holder Getting Ready to Call it Quits?

file photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has stuck around longer than many had anticipated.

ButAl Kamen and Colby Itkowitz of the Washington Post say there’s speculation that he could call it quits, possibly by the end of the year.

Then again, the Post writes, that the shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, could make him hang in a while longer.

The Post goes on:

On the other hand, his travel schedule this month could give another clue to his intentions.

One of his major goals, we understand, is to visit every U.S. attorney’s office in the country — all 93 of them. He’s been doing that since he settled in at the Justice Department, and now there are only three left on the list — and he’s traveling to two of them this week, in Louisville and Lexington, Ky.

In other words, he wants to check that mission off his bucket list before calling it quits

Justice Department Launches Plan to Identify Radicals with U.S. Passports As ISIS Threat Grows

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department opened a new front on the war against radicals.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced plans to identify radicals with U.S. passports.

The idea is to identify Americans before they travel abroad.

“We have established processes for detecting American extremists who attempt to join terror groups abroad,” Holder said.

Holder has said that dozens of Americans are joining terrorists in Syria.

“In the face of a threat so grave, we cannot afford to be passive,” he said in Oslo two months ago.