Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Election Over. New Tune. Holder Next AG.

During the presidential campaign, Eric Holder expressed no interest in being Barack Obama's Attorney General - at least not publicly. And he all but assured those who asked that his family would not let him have any part of it. The routine seemed quite acceptable as Holder is somewhat retro and controversial - not the best combination for a campaign portending a "new tone in Washington" and the "politics of change." Holder, a former federal prosecutor, served as deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton and played a critical role in the at least two gross abuses of the pardon power, the Marc Rich pardon and the FALN pardons. Thus, any hint of Holder serving as AG during the campaign may have been greeted with a swift uproar.

But the campaign is now long over and there is less need to appear consistent with the overly broad and generally senseless rhetoric of "change." Today, Reuters reports President-elect Barack Obama has extended an invitation to Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General of the United States. It is also reported that Holder has accepted. I believe it was Mrs. Clinton who first distinguished between "change" you can "believe in" and "change" that you can simply "xerox!"

In addition to Holder's controversial role in extensions of clemency to fugitives and terrorists, PardonPower feels it is worthy of note that the pardon process all but vanished while Holder served as deputy attorney general. We are aware of no evidence that he believes pardons are an important, much less necessary, function of our system of justice. If George W. Bush has been "stingy" with pardons, the Obama administration, under Holder's leadership, might seem like the end of pardons altogether. See report here.

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