Plenty of Praise for Eric Holder as new AG
Things are looking good for Eric Holder, Obama’s pick for attorney general, formally announced today.
In addition to the highly flattering portrait of Holder as a young man in today’s New York Times, he’s getting praise from some of the most serious critics of the Attorney Generals under George W. Bush.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), for example, a fierce critic of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for his politicization of the Justice Department and the approval of torture methods such as waterboarding during his tenure, gave Holder a ringing endorsement today.
“Our new Attorney General must restore the Justice Department’s proud tradition of independence and excellence, and insulate it from improper pressure even when it comes from the White House,” said Whitehouse. “No one will fill that role more capably than Eric Holder.”
Whitehouse, who was the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island during the Clinton administration when Holder was deputy AG, added that he “can attest to his vast experience, his calm judgment, his legal skill, and his unswerving loyalty to the Department and its principles. I have no doubt that he will offer the independent, wise leadership necessary to repair the terrible damage of the Bush years. He has my enthusiastic support.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has previously supported the nomination of Eric Holder, and noted that even the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, has praised the former judge and federal prosecutor. “I respect the man and I intend to support him,” Hatch told reporters a few weeks ago.
Although Holder has faced criticism for his role signing off on President Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich in 2001, Holder has acknowledged that that was a mistake, and many key senators on the judiciary committee appear to be giving him a pass on that stumble.
Holder was confirmed easily as deputy attorney general, after a two-hour confirmation hearing. Talkleft has excerpts and a transcript.