When the Obama administration wakes up next month to a divided capital, no cabinet member will be facing a more miserable prospect of oversight hearings and subpoenas than Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
Mr. Holder is a particularly juicy target because he presides over issues that have served as recurrent fodder for political controversy — including using the criminal justice system for terrorism cases, and federal enforcement of civil rights and immigration laws.
While stirred up controversies like the one about the New Black Panther Party didn't pan out for them, Republicans have nevertheless been on the hunt for something that would take down AG Holder. At this point, they think they've found that something in a controversy that the MSM and progressive blogs are pretty completely ignoring...the Arizona ATF's Fast and Furious operation. As the Daily Caller notes today, eight Republican House members have now called for Holder's resignation.
While they've not yet grown this thing into a full-fledged scandal, I have every confidence that they'll keep trying. As the article from the NYT says, these folks see AG Holder as a threat to some things that are very important issues to them - terrorism cases, federal enforcement of civil rights, and immigration laws.
In the tab up at the top of this blog titled "DOJ Watch," I've been documenting some of the things Holder and the DOJ have been doing with regards to these issues. The list is long, including tackling police brutality, prosecuting the police murders on the Danzinger Bridge following Katrina, negotiating a settlement between the Dept. of Agriculture and African American farmers, fighting for the Fair Sentencing Act (and its application retroactively), prosecuting banks for reverse redlining, investigating racial profiling, protecting women's access to health care clinics, prosecuting draconian immigration laws, and challenging the Texas anti-Hispanic redistricting plan.
Of course AG Holder has also been in the forefront of taking on Congress over their legislation to block of the administration from shutting down Guantanamo and dealing with the public outcry over his proposal to try detainees in civilian courts.
These are all issues that should lead progressives to stand firmly behind him as these attacks mount. But there is virtual silence on the left, and worse, the potential for the poutragers to join with the right in calling for his resignation. That is fueled by the left's anger at Holder for 3 things:
1. He didn't prosecute Bush/Cheney for torture,
2. They think he hasn't done enough to prosecute people responsible for the financial collapse, and
3. The DOJ's mixed messages on going after businesses that sell medical marijuana in states where that is legal.
While I agree with the third criticism, what fuels the first two is an ignorance about the possibilities. For example, in 2009 Congress passed the Military Commissions Act which pretty much eviscerated the possibility of prosecutions for U.S. torture. And the sad reality is that much of what Wall Street did to create the 2008 economic crash was legal.
So while much of the left is focused on being angry with our Attorney General for things he could never accomplish, they have completely ignored the important work he is doing that has led the right to go after him with a vengeance.
As things heat up for AG Holder with accusations from the right, I hope the Obama administration will stand behind him 100%. I know that I will.