Out of Control Policy Blog

Eric Holder for AG? Civilian Libertarians Should Shudder

Newsweek is reporting that President-elect Obama will install Eric Holder, deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, as Attorney General, provided that he passes a formal vetting process. Since Obama is vetting, here are a few things we would like to bring to his attention:

Holder has declared that the "disastrous course" set by the Bush administration in the struggle against terrorism has to be reversed by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and declaring without qualification that the United States does not torture people. But Holder downplayed concerns about using "secret evidence" against suspected terrorists when he was in the Justice Department
According to Tim Lynch of the CATO Institute, Holder was responsible for pushing several liberty-killing anti-terrorism laws after the Oklahoma bombing
Holder played a leading role in Bill Clinton's pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. Some suspect that he might have with-held information about billionaire fugitive and tax evader, Marc Rich, to facilitate Rich's pardon by President Clinton
He is a drug warrior and who proposed to stiffen penalties for the possession of marijuana.
He was also involved in the federal government's decision to ">seize Elian Gonzalez from his aunt's home and return him to Cuba without obtaining a court order, a terrible lapse of judgment
There have been questions about whether he was completely upfront about the Justice Department's conduct in the Waco fiasco.

Holder's big attraction for the job apparently is that he is African American. Skin color is never a good qualification for an appointment and it speaks volumes about Obama if he made it one. That said, there were far better African American candidates for this job including former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke.

ACLU will have its work cut out for it if Holder becomes attorney general. He will replace one set of excesses with another. It would be truly disappointing pick by Obama.

For a full discussion of who would make for a better AG, click here

Shikha Dalmia is Senior Analyst


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