Friday, September 26, 2014

The Holder Resignation

Eric Holder announced yesterday that he'll be stepping down from his post as America's chief law enforcement officer. I'm in no position to say where Mr. Holder ranks in the pantheon of American attorneys general, but I would be surprised were he not somewhere near the bottom.

A short list of his most egregious derelictions would include the following:
  • He secured clemency (as Deputy AG under Clinton) for 16 FALN terrorists as well as a pardon for wealthy donor and convicted felon Marc Rich.
  • He refused to prosecute New Black Panthers in Philadelphia who were intimidating white voters in the 2008 election. He said that they were "his people" and he wasn't interested in prosecuting them.
  • He illegally facilitated the flow of guns to Mexican criminals (Operation Fast and Furious), some of which were used in numerous murders including that of an American border agent, Brian Terry. Holder misled congress on this operation, stonewalled their investigation of it, and was subsequently cited for contempt of congress, the first sitting attorney general in history to merit this disgrace.
  • He refused to investigate the IRS which was illegally denying conservative groups tax-exempt status that was granted as a matter of course to similar liberal groups.
  • He refused to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the administration's handling of the Benghazi incident.
  • He dismissed his critics as racists and accused Americans of being "a nation of cowards" for not having a "conversation on race."
  • His DOJ illegally seized the phone records of journalists and, like a scene right out of the movie The Lives of Others which depicted how the East German secret police spied on dissenters, Holder's Justice Department secretly monitored the phone calls and emails of correspondent James Rosen.
  • He implemented Operation Choke Point which pressures banks not to grant loans or credit to legal gun shops which makes it very hard for these small businesses to stay open.
  • He blatantly refused to enforce laws against gay marriage and illegal immigration and has sued to overturn laws which would require voters to show that they're legal residents of the state they're voting in.
He has been, in short, a political hack in a position of great power, power that he has abused in order to protect the Obama administration and promote its agenda.

He won't be missed by anyone who values the rule of law and its unbiased enforcement on behalf of all Americans, black and white, liberal and conservative. National Review sums up his resignation this way:
Eric Holder’s legal mercies have typically been reserved for Clinton donors and unrepentant terrorists, but his decision yesterday to step down as attorney general of the United States after nearly six years is an act of mercy toward the American public.

In an administration characterized by outsized misadventures — from the use of the nation’s tax bureau to suppress political opponents to the use of secret waiting lists at government hospitals that killed American servicemen — Eric Holder managed to make his Justice Department a source of special, nay, historic attention: In June 2012, Holder became the first U.S. attorney general to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives. He earned every vote.

Achieving “justice” via the Justice Department may be an intrinsically unlikely prospect, but none of Holder’s recent predecessors — Janet Reno, John Ashcroft, Michael Mukasey, even the much-maligned Alberto Gonzales — exhibited his sheer contempt for the rule of law. Much to his preference was employing the law for political purposes; or, when necessary, dispensing with the law completely.
President Obama praised Mr. Holder on the occasion of his announcement of his resignation, and well he might since Eric Holder was Mr. Obama's "heat shield" and he performed that task assiduously. Having a friend as Attorney General certainly makes it easier for a president to exceed his constitutional authority himself and Mr. Obama has taken adroit advantage of Mr. Holder's complaisance.
It'll be interesting to see who the President nominates to succeed Mr. Holder and what drama those nomination hearings will produce.