Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hearings On Holder Thursday

Image credit: National Archives This is the Constitution. It's going to need some help in the coming days, and you can be a part of it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the nomination of Eric Holder to be President-Elect Obama's Attorney General on Thursday. Apparently, Arlen Specter and other Senators had a trip planned (PDF), or committee chairman Pat Leahy would have scheduled it earlier. In return for that consideration, it appears that Specter is promising to resist the nomination.

In an e-mail to my real-world self, People For The American Way wrote:

You may have seen some of the news coverage already. Holder's critics are citing his role in some of President Clinton's last-minute pardons. But even Holder's Republican supporters -- of which he has many, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, Solicitor General Ted Olsen and James Comey, the former Bush administration deputy attorney general who tried to fight DOJ approval of the NSA's warrentless domestic spying program -- acknowledged that even if Holder made some mistakes in the past, he learned from them and will be a good attorney general.

The real opposition to Holder comes from those who want to use his confirmation process as a proxy fight for future judicial confirmation battles, including for the Supreme Court. And in the last few weeks, leading right-wing voices like Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney and many on FOX News have been making the case that broad surveillance powers and loose restrictions on detainee treatment and interrogation techniques (that's a euphemism for torture) are the only way to protect America from terrorists. Holder is with us in resisting those objectionable arguments, and we're confident he will fight for our values and our rights as Americans if confirmed as attorney general.

I share some of the reservations about Holder. Nevertheless, he's on record as being against torture, rendition, and unlimited surveillance of the sort that the Bush Administration have been engaging in. That the folks who brought us the last eight years of darkness are against him strikes me as a great recommendation.

Karl Rove and the other apologists for torture and the violation of our rights keep insisting that this is what's necessary to keep us safe. Frankly, I'm far more worried that we won't be safe from our government, and unless the Attorney General is willing to stand for the rule of law on these issues, we won't be.

With that in mind, and the thought that no nominee is likely to be perfect, I encourage folks to sign PFAW's online petition and, if your Senator is a member of the Judiciary Committee, write him with your concerns.


One Fly said...

After eight years of darkness to have a person in this position that may actually respect individual rights afforded us by the constitution is exciting.

Of course I signed.

Dana Hunter said...

It amazes me that these idiots never get tired of acting like enfants terrible. You'd think, with their party shrinking like a willy after the Viagra's worn off, that they'd realize that acting the fools wins you less voters.

Apparently, this reality has not yet dawned on them. All we can hope for now is that they make such fools of themselves tilting at Holder that the stupid burns itself into voters' memories for a long time to come.

Holder will get through, and he'll put the Constitution back together. No wonder the Cons are terrified of him.

Cujo359 said...

Isn't it incredible how our expectations have diminished? There was a time when someone like Holder, who has represented far too many well-heeled bastards for my taste, would have been anathema to us. Now we're excited that someone is willing to enforce the law on the government.

I think you're right, Dana. This nomination should get through. If it doesn't, maybe Obama should take a page from the Bush playbook and nominate someone even "worse" from a Republican point of view.