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Tag: Attorney General

Contentious Senate Hearings Expected When Obama Names Replacement for AG Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Whoever is going to succeed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is likely to face a contentious Senate, the Washington Post reports.

Some Republicans even called for a delay because of the potential of midterm elections swinging in favor of the GOP in November.

“Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced,” Sen. Ted Cruz said.

Democrats urged Republicans to let Obama make his selection without the drama.

“This is going to be the first real test, whether it’s in the lame-duck or early in the new year, whether our Republican colleagues are going to continue to obstruct,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday in an interview. “Every president deserves to have his attorney general.”

Obama has yet to indicate when he will replace Holder.

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.

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.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: DOJ Investigation Must Go Beyond Ferguson

By St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Editorial Board

A few numbers indicate a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department is long overdue. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice will begin such an inquiry. This is an important and positive step forward, but we suspect when he gets into the numbers, and examines the reality of North St. Louis County, Ferguson will play but a small role in a larger investigation.

First, those numbers:

• As we noted Aug. 10, the day after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, blacks in Ferguson were 37 percent more likely to be pulled over in 2013 than whites, as a percentage of their respective populations. Those black drivers who were pulled over were twice as likely to be searched for contraband, such as drugs, than white drivers, even though police found contraband, percentage-wise, more often in the cars of white drivers.

• In a city that is two-thirds black, only three of its 53 police officers are black.

• And this, from a recent report from Arch City Defenders: “Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.”

None of these things, on their own, are proof positive of institutional racism or civil rights violations. But together, they help paint a picture that explains why tens of thousands of African-Americans in the St. Louis region have taken to the streets in anger, not just over the shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer, but over years of being subject to different rules when dealing with the justice system partly, if not mostly, because of the color of their skin.

To read more click here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Expresses Sympathy for Black Americans Who Distrust Law Enforcement

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder understands why many black Americans distrust police , he said in Ferguson where protesters have been rallying since an officer shot an unarmed black teen, Fox News reports.

Holder met with about 50 community members to talk about law enforcement issues.

Holder said his trip was meant to reinforce that the federal government is concerned about civil rights issues.

“I understand that mistrust,” Holder said. “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”

Holder relayed a story of being stopped twice and having his car searched.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said.

 

AG Eric Holder Pledges to Bring Justice in Case of Beheaded Journalist

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The extremist from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be held accountable for beheading American journalist James Foley, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, CBS DC reports.

“Those who would perpetrate such acts need to understand something,” Holder said. “We have long memories and our reach is very wide and we will not forget what happened. People will be held accountable one way or another.”

What remains unclear is whether the U.S. will change its approach to handling American kidnappings.

“The president’s rhetoric was excellent, but he didn’t outline steps to stop the slaughter,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of Obama’s harshest foreign policy critics, said in a telephone interview. “The strategy should be to launch all-out air attacks in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL,” he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder Visits Ferguson