Eric Holder is the fourth longest serving Attorney General and one of the last original Cabinet political appointees. His recent resignation was celebrated by those on the Right politically.
The Attorney General leads the Department of Justice. He is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The U.S. Justice Department is one of the most powerful executive branch agencies in the federal government. It is responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice.
Former Justice Department official, Hans A. von Spakovsky is co-author with John Fund of “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department”, (Broadside/HarperCollins 2014) writes,
“Justice requires someone who understands that, while the attorney general is a political appointee, he (or she) has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law in an objective, non-political manner. For the most part, Eric Holder failed in the execution of that duty.”
Has Eric Holder upheld the Rule of Law, the Constitution? Has he enforced the law in an objective, non-political manner? Here are just a few incidents to reflect on:
- Holder has admitted that he wears “two hats—one of them political.” He stated openly that he wanted to be an activist attorney generalin contradiction of the objective non-political approach upholding the Constitution requires.
- In November 2008, at a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day two members of the New Black Panther Party were accused of voter intimidation. Minister King Samir Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson, stood in front of the entrance to the polling station in military style uniforms. Shabazz carried a billy club. He was reported to have pointed it at voters while both men shouted racial slurs, including phrases such as “white devil” and “you’re about to be ruled by the black man, cracker”. It was deemed to have been the most severe instance of voter intimidation by a former civil rights lawyer who was a poll watcher. The Department of Justice became aware of the incident on Election Day. Under the Bush administration, a criminal investigation into the incident was launched, but later dropped by the Department of Justice headed by Eric Holder who refused to press the charges any further. Both men were released.
- First Attorney General to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives refusing to turn over documents tied to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting.
- Assigned more prosecutors to investigate leaks than any other attorney general, leading one to conclude such action was an intimidation tool.
- Led unprecedented attacks on such states as Texas and South Carolina who sought voter ID laws that would true the vote as in. Under the Texas law voters are to have one of seven acceptable forms of photo IDs issued by the state or federal government. Those who do not have acceptable ID would be given a provisional ballot. (People need an ID to file for unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, a get a driver’s license, to open a bank account, to rent an apartment, to buy a house, to open a bank account, or to apply for a job.) The new voter ID laws are designed to prevent fraud at the ballot box, but Holder has accused the states enacting voter ID laws as a way of restricting the franchise.
- IRS scandals: In May 2013, the IRS admitted it had targeted conservative political groups for closer inspection in their applications for tax-exempt status.
According to various media such as CNN and The Washington Post, the IRS used keywords in the applicant’s names or descriptions to trigger the discrimination such as:
- “Patriots”, “Tea Party”, or “9/12 Project”, “progressive,” “occupy,” “Israel,” “open source software,” or “occupied territory advocacy” and “medical marijuana”
- Issues in the application that incorporated government spending, government debt, or taxes;
- Advocating or lobbying to “make America a better place to live”;
- Criticism on how the country is being governed or run
- The promoting the education about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights;
- Indications of the potential challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare);
- The questing of voter or federal election integrity
While the agency attempted to assign the injustice to low-level employees, the Republicans refused to overlook Lois Lerner, then Director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Unit, potential part in the controversy as she invoked the Fifth Amendment at the hearings.
Senator Ted Cruz called for an independent prosecutor to probe the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Attorney General Eric Holder rejected the call. Senator Cruz has released the following statement in response to Holder’s refusal:
“It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama Administration to claim that the investigator leading the investigation into the IRS’s illegal program has no conflict of interest. The investigator is a partisan Democrat who has donated over six thousand dollars to President Obama and Democrat causes. Just as nobody would trust John Mitchell to investigate Richard Nixon, nobody should trust a partisan Obama donor to investigate the IRS’s political targeting of President Obama’s enemies. Sadly, “in the discretion of the Attorney General,” Eric Holder has chosen to reject the bipartisan tradition of the Department of Justice of putting rule of law above political allegiance.
Both Nixon Administration Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno appointed special prosecutors whose integrity was beyond reproach; Eric Holder should do likewise. To date, nine months after a damning Inspector General report, nobody has been indicted, many of the victims have not even been interviewed, and Lois Lerner has twice pleaded the Fifth. And yet the Attorney General refuses to allow a genuine–and impartial–investigation.
The integrity of the Department of Justice deserves better. The American people deserve better.”
Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee spoke for most of the political Right, calling him the most divisive in modern history, reported by Townhall,
“Eric Holder is the most divisive U.S. Attorney General in modern history and, in a vote supported by 17 Democratic House Members, has the dubious historic distinction of being the first Attorney General held in criminal contempt by the U.S. House of Representatives. Time and again, Eric Holder administered justice as the political activist he describes himself as instead of an unbiased law enforcement official. By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder’s legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any Attorney General before him. Through strong arming reporters, practically ignoring high level wrongdoing, blocking his own agency Inspector General’s access to information, and overseeing a Department that attempted to stonewall Congressional oversight with denials of what is now established fact, Attorney General Holder abused his office and failed to uphold the values of our Constitution. While President Obama and the Senate should work expeditiously to find a replacement, time and care must be taken to ensure that our next Attorney General recognizes and does not repeat Mr. Holder’s mistakes.”