Tag Archives: Eric Holder

Sessions pick for AG is the most galling of all

sessions-trump

Jeff Sessions is likely to be confirmed as the nation’s next attorney general.

It’s been said that “to the victors go the spoils.” In Sessions’ case, the victor happens to be a U.S. senator who was among Donald J. Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters in his winning bid for the presidency.

Trump has rewarded the Alabama Republican with a nomination to become the nation’s top lawyer, its top law enforcement officer, its primary legal eagle.

The irony — not to mention the potential consequence — of this appointment is too rich to overlook.

Sessions has served in the Senate since 1997. For nearly a decade he’s been a member of the very “club” that once rejected an earlier nomination for Sessions to become a federal judge.

President Reagan nominated Sessions to the federal bench in 1986. Sessions, though, seemed to have this thing about African-Americans. He allegedly made some racist comments while serving as a federal prosecutor. He once said something akin to endorsing the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some KKKers “smoked pot.” Sessions declared that to be a “joke,” that he was just kiddin’ around.

Well, the Senate rejected his judicial nomination. Sessions, though, decided to join the club. He was elected in 1996 and since then has been passing judgment on other judicial nominees who’ve come before the Judiciary Committee, where he serves.

Thus, the irony.

Sessions will be confirmed eventually, but only because senators are deeply resistant to rejecting one of their own, no matter how repulsive he may be.

The Justice Department has made great strides in recent years — under Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch — in ensuring equal protection under the law for all Americans. Does one really expect an Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue that trend?

I fear that the attorney general’s office is going to take a decidedly less-aggressive posture in enforcing civil rights violations when they occur. I also am wary of anything Jeff Sessions says about his commitment to ensuring equal justice for all Americans.

His buddies in the Senate will confirm this nomination. I am hoping, though, for a thorough going-over regarding his record as a prosecutor and that silly rejection to the federal judgeship over things he said about many of our fellow citizens.

Perhaps one of his inquisitors will ask: “Sen. Sessions, if the Senate deemed you unfit to be a federal judge, why should it confirm you now as attorney general?”

Reid to go 'nuclear' on Lynch nomination?

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is a lame-duck Democrat in a body controlled by Republicans.

He’s not going back into private life without a fight. He’s picked a doozy to wage with his GOP colleagues.

Frankly, it’s a fight worth having.

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/harry-reid-says-he-can-force-vote-loretta-lynch-nomination

Reid wants to force the Senate to vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the nation’s next attorney general. She’s been waiting seemingly since The Flood to get a vote by the full Senate, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell keeps digging in, resisting the vote for this reason and that reason — none of which has any bearing on Lynch’s qualifications for the job to which she’s been nominated by President Obama.

She is highly qualified. She has deserved a full vote since the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended her appointment.

McConnell, though, is holding her hostage to other legislation.

Reid’s role as minority leader is supposed to put him in a subordinate capacity. However, he said this week that if he gets 51 senators to sign on, he can call for a full Senate vote and circumvent the authority reserved customarily for the majority leader.

He’s going to enrage McConnell if he manages to schedule the vote. A majority of senators already has said they plan to confirm Lynch as AG. The trick, then, is to get a majority to agree simply to a vote.

Lynch would succeed Eric Holder at Justice. Republicans already detest Holder. Every day Lynch is delayed from taking her job is a day that Holder remains at his post. Why in the world, if you’re a Senate Republican, do you want to keep someone on the job that you cannot stand?

Senate protocol and decorum are supposed to inviolable. A lot of it has been tossed aside in recent years as the parties have fought tooth-and-nail with each other. Democrats changed the filibuster rules in the previous Congress. And just recently, a group of Republicans sent a letter to the Iranian mullahs telling them the nuclear deal worked out could be tossed aside when the next president takes office in January 2017.

Decorum? Protocol? It’s gone, mostly.

Harry Reid’s set to play some hardball. If it gets Loretta Lynch confirmed as the next attorney general, well, let him throw the first pitch.

 

'Don't hire prostitutes'

It’s come down to this.

The attorney general of the United States of America has issued a memo to staff lawyers and law enforcement officials under the Department of Justice authority urging them against hiring hookers.

How bizarre is that?

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/eric-holder-prostitution-memo-116865.html?hp=c3_3

The memo comes from outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder after a report found widespread sexual abuse among several agencies within the DOJ purview. As Politico reported: “Holder wrote that, despite prostitution being legal in parts of Nevada and abroad, department employees are expected to refrain, ‘not simply because it invites extortion, blackmail, and leaks of sensitive or classified information, but also because it undermines the Department’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking.’”

As if the department’s legal eagles and investigators didn’t know all that?

I’m not sure if this isn’t somehow Holder’s swan song memo to employees. Whatever it is, doesn’t seem to be understood that the individuals who work for the Department of Justice should know better than to hire hookers to give them, um, pleasure?

We’ve seen report of agents consorting with “businesswomen” in Colombia, of them fooling around while serving on advance teams sent in ahead of the president.

Maybe it’s just me, but I expect better from the individuals hired to do dangerous, sensitive and life-threatening work.

As for the DOJ effort to “eradicate the scourge of human trafficking,” it’s clear that the agency cannot be credible in that effort if its team is engaged in the very behavior that promotes such tragic endeavors.

AG vote delay: preposterous

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants to go home, wants to hand his job over to someone else and wants to bow out of the public eye.

He’s infuriated that he cannot do any of that because the people with whom he’s had the most serious disputes during his time as head of the Justice Department — congressional Republicans — won’t vote on whether to confirm his successor-to-be, Loretta Lynch.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/eric-holder-lynch-nomination-delay-116274.html?hp=lc2_4

The U.S. Senate has delayed Lynch’s confirmation vote because Republicans are mad at Democrats over an abortion provision in an anti-human trafficking bill.

What does that have to do with Lynch’s nomination? Beats me. It also puzzles Holder and President Obama, who nominated Lynch to become the first African-American woman to lead the Justice Department.

“When we show the American people the dysfunction that has gripped Washington over the last few years, and add yet another layer of dysfunction, this erodes faith in our institutions. And that’s just not good for the country over the long term,” Holder said.

Dysfunction? Yes, there’s been a lot of it, Mr. Attorney General.

Lynch’s qualifications are yet to be challenge seriously. Some Senate Republicans want her to disagree publicly with the president on his immigration-related executive order. Fat chance, folks.

So now we’re still stuck. Lynch is waiting and waiting for a vote that she — and the country — deserve to take place.

Meanwhile, the man the Senate GOP loves to loathe remains on the job — where I only can suppose these senators want him to vacate.

 

Does this guy fit into the 'punk' category?

Jeremy Williams is now at the center of a controversy that doesn’t seem set to fade away.

He’s been arrested in connection with the shooting of two white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., a community beset with racial tension since the shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; Brown was a young African-American man, while Wilson is a white former Ferguson cop.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/16/us/suspect-arrested-in-shooting-of-2-officers-in-ferguson-police-say.html?_r=0

Now comes Jeremy Williams. He’s black. He all but admitted to shooting the police officers, both of whom suffered non-life-threatening wounds.

Williams’s defense? He was shooting at someone else, not the officers.

Oh, here’s another thing: The young man is on probation for receiving stolen property. He’s not supposed to be carrying a firearm.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder described whoever shot the officers as a “punk.” Jeremy Williams appears to fit that description. Yes, there may be a whole host of extenuating circumstances that have led this young man to take the wrong path into adulthood. “This arrest sends a clear message that acts of violence against our law enforcement personnel will never be tolerated,” Holder said.

What’s more, as a prosecutor said after announcing the young man’s arrest, it doesn’t matter one bit whether he intended to shoot the officers or was aiming at someone else, he’s been accused of committing a Class A felony.

 

Ferguson shooting suspect in custody

That didn’t take long.

Just a few days after two Ferguson, Mo., police officers were ambushed, authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with the crime.

He is 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams.

http://news.yahoo.com/police-announce-arrest-ferguson-police-shootings-175442302.html

Let’s allow the system now to do its work.

Williams is accused of wounding the two officers who were watching a demonstration involving much of the recent racial tension that has gripped the St. Louis suburban community. This is where a young black man was shot to death by a white police officer; a grand jury declined to indict the officer for the young man’s death; violent protests erupted; the officer quit the police force; and the Justice Department has decided against pursuing federal civil rights charges against the officer.

Against that backdrop, someone shot the officers.

Williams told authorities he was shooting at someone else with whom he was having a disagreement. St. Louis County officials aren’t buying the story.

Whatever, this case has taken another bizarre turn.

I’m just hoping we can determine the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of a terrible crime.

As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, whoever did this is nothing more than a “punk.”

Well, even punks deserve fair justice.

 

McConnell up to old tricks in Senate

Mitch McConnell promised to make the U.S. Senate work better if he became its majority leader.

The upper legislative chamber would start governing again, he said.

OK, so how’s he doing on his pledge? Not very well.

The Kentucky Republican has announced he plans to hold up a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch to become the next attorney general if Democrats don’t play ball on a controversial human trafficking bill.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/235753-mcconnell-will-delay-lynch-unless-democrats-cooperate

What does one thing have to do with the other? Not nearly enough to justify holding up Lynch’s confirmation vote.

Democrats are holding back their support of a trafficking bill that was supposed to be a non-controversial piece of legislation. Then they read some of the fine print in it and are now balking. McConnell said the Senate needs to clear that bill off the table before it considers Lynch’s nomination to succeed Eric Holder as the nation’s AG.

Holy obstruction, Batman!

This nomination needs to move forward. Lynch is highly qualified to be the nation’s attorney general. Republicans keep saying how much they dislike the way Holder does his job. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader is doing all he can to ensure Holder stays on the job.

What gives?

As The Hill notes, Lynch has been twisting in the wind long enough: “Lynch’s nomination has been awaiting confirmation for 128 days, longer than the past five attorneys general. Holder, by comparison, had to wait only 64 days before receiving Senate confirmation.”

Schedule a vote, Mr. Majority Leader, and allow Loretta Lynch to be confirmed.

Lynch nomination a cliffhanger? Why?

Sometimes I can be a bit slow on the uptake. I get that. I concede it’s a weakness.

But for the life of me, I do not understand why Loretta Lynch’s nomination to become the next U.S. attorney general is hanging by a thread. Someone will have to explain this one to me.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/loretta-lynch-nomination-close-116032.html?hp=t2_r

Lynch is supposed to replace Eric Holder as AG. She was thought to be set for a relatively easy confirmation. Then the man who appointed her, President Obama, decided to issue an executive order that delayed deportation of some 5 million illegal immigrants; the order allows them to seek work permits while they stay in the United States.

The order enraged Senate Republicans. So what did they do? They began questioning Lynch about whether she supported the president’s executive decision.

What on God’s Earth did they expect her to say?

“Well, senator, since you asked, I think that’s the dumbest damn idea I’ve ever heard. It’s illegal. It violates the Constitution. The president has rocks in his head and he should be impeached just for being stupid enough to issue the order.”

Is that what they want her to say? I’m beginning to think that’s the case.

Instead, she has declared her support of the president’s decision. As if that’s some big surprise to the senators, some of whom said they’d support her initially, but then changed their mind because — gasp! — she’s endorsing a key policy of the man who wants her to become the next attorney general.

Who’da thunk such a thing?

Loretta Lynch is eminently qualified to assume this important post. Republicans have made no secret of their intense dislike of Holder, who said he’d stay on the job until the next AG is confirmed.

I believe Holder has done just fine as attorney general, but he wants to move on, spend time with his family, pursue other interests … all those clichés. So, let him do it.

First, though, confirm Loretta Lynch.

How about confirming new AG … now?

The delay over a confirmation vote on the new U.S. attorney general is beginning to confound me.

Loretta Lynch is an eminently qualified U.S. attorney from New York. She was nominated by President Obama to succeed Eric Holder at the Justice Department. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 to recommend her confirmation, with three Republicans joining all nine Democrats on the panel to approve her confirmation.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/03/05/democrats_call_for_nomination_vote_on_loretta_lynch_125837.html

But the full Senate has yet to schedule a confirmation vote.

All 45 Senate Democrats signed a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to schedule a vote so that Lynch presumably can get started on her new job.

The confounding part is the consequence of the delay.

Eric Holder remains on the job. It’s not that I think he’s done a poor job as attorney general. Senate Republicans cannot stand the guy. He’s angered them time and again over policy disagreements. The GOP caucus doesn’t want him on the job any longer.

So, why not schedule a vote for Lynch — who still enjoys some Republican support — so she can replace the despised Eric Holder?

Is it because getting Holder out of office robs Republicans of a target at whom they can take potshots?

Hey, I’m just askin’.

Schedule a Senate vote, Mr. Majority Leader.

 

Ex-cop won't face federal civil rights charges

I truly don’t know what to think about the Justice Department’s decision against prosecuting a former police officer in the death of a young black man.

Darren Wilson, formerly a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, was no-billed by a local grand jury this past year after he shot Michael Brown to death during an altercation.

The grand jury’s decision to let Wilson go set off a firestorm across the nation.

Then the Justice Department said it would weigh in on whether Wilson violated any federal civil rights laws when he shot Brown to death. The DOJ said today it wouldn’t prosecute him.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/234595-feds-will-not-charge-officer-darren-wilson-in-ferguson-shooting

Is this a good thing? For Wilson, who quit the department after the grand jury cleared him, it’s certainly good news. Brown’s family no doubt feels differently.

Me? I tend to honor the local criminal justice system’s view on these matters. The locals said they lacked sufficient evidence to bring charges against the officer and the feds have concurred with what the locals decided.

But there’s an interesting political back story here. Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has been criticized — wrongly, in my view — as a “race-baiter.” The calls come from those on the right who contend that Holder, the nation’s first African-American AG, too often relies on race to inform his public policies.

Well, here we have a Justice Department deciding that the white former police officer didn’t commit a crime that needed a federal civil-rights trial to resolve.

Does that mean the criticism of Holder will subside, now that his department — which he is about to leave — has sided with the white guy?

Do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.