Friday, September 26, 2014

Eric Holder was certainly no Abu Gonzales

Not even Richard Nixon's John Mitchell, for that matter.

Still, there remain any number of good reasons his departure is long overdueWay past time that he make like cow chips and hit the dusty trail.  Head on back to where he came from, or perhaps Goldman Sachs or some such.

Holder’s tenure as Attorney General has been a tragic one. Not only has he been engulfed in partisan scandals over an incompetent gun running sting known as “Fast and Furious,” he has been under fire for attacking the First Amendment rights of the media and is widely seen as having given his friends and former clients on Wall Street a complete pass on the criminal conduct that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

Holder’s involvement with the war on whistleblowers, tracking and intimidating reporters, killing Americans without judicial review, and the abysmal failure to enforce the law against criminals in the financial services industry has left America a more divided and unjust society. Not a particularly good legacy to leave behind.
America not only saw a white collar crime wave go unpunished, but saw Holder himself announce a doctrine that has been called Too Big To Jail. Holder claimed in congressional testimony that some Wall Street banks could not be prosecuted because of their size, saying  “If you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

Holder made no corresponding effort to break up the banks so they could become the appropriate size for him to feel comfortable prosecuting them when they broke the law. Instead, the comment signaled to everyone that if you were big and powerful enough the Holder Justice Department was not coming after you in criminal court – which still holds true as there has not been any major prosecutions against the banks or bankers.

I appreciate what Eric Holder has done in standing up for the Voting Rights Act, and more specifically I am grateful for his fight against Greg Abbott over photo IDs for Texas voters.  How that case eventually turns out may well be a star in his crown.  In terms of admiration, it's difficult for me to remember the day, nearly six years ago, that the Senior Box Turtle from Texas stalled Holder's nomination to AG because Cornyn disagreed that waterboarding was torture.

Ah, the memories.  From June of 2008, Eric Holder, speaking to the American Constitution Society.

"I never thought I would see the day when a Justice Department would claim that only the most extreme infliction of pain and physical abuse constitutes torture and that acts that are merely cruel, inhuman and degrading are consistent with United States law and policy, that the Supreme Court would have to order the president of the United States to treat detainees in accordance with the Geneva Convention, never thought that I would see that a president would act in direct defiance of federal law by authorizing warrantless NSA surveillance of American citizens. This disrespect for the rule of law is not only wrong, it is destructive."

And in June a year ago.

Eric Holder did do some good as attorney general of the United States, but his refusal to prosecute so many more crimes and injustices -- to say nothing of the broken promises of transparency -- is a black mark in the history books.  A very easy bottom line: as long as war criminals and Wall Street thieves walk about free while thousands of petty offenders of marijuana laws languish in jail, Holder's grade as the nation's top law enforcement officer is a failing one.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Some of the MSM is claiming he fought *against* the War on Drugs. I don't know where the fuck that idea comes from.

Overall? C+

Like you said, was strong on voting rights, redistricting, and gay rights.

Bad but not horrible (at least not as much as Dear Leader) on the WOD.

Teh suck, just like his boss, on civil liberties.