Holder’s Nomination Heads to Full Senate

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm

It been nearly sixty days since he was first nominated, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally voted 17-2 today to send Eric Holder’s nomination for attorney general to the full Senate for confirmation. A Senate vote is expected this week.

The positive outcome of the vote was expected after the committee’s ranking Republican, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, endorsed Holder Tuesday.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) were the only committee members to vote against Holder. In his dissent, Cornyn cited concern over how Holder would treat intelligence personnel who participated in aggressive interrogations and detainee torture, as well as Holder’s involvement in controversial Clinton-era pardons.

Holder’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings did not move as quickly as some might have liked. Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Specter battled over the timing of the confirmation process, with Specter and the minority delaying the Committee vote on Holder last week.

During the vote today, Sen. Pete Sessions (R-Ala.) endorsed Holder, but indicated his general hesitancy on some of President Obama’s other Justice Department nominees, though he didn’t specify who or why.

If the tepid and qualified approval of Holder’s nomination offered by Specter and Sessions are representative of the GOP’s treatment of all Justice nominees, we can indeed expect change to come to the Department of Justice — just not very quickly.


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