WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder has accepted President-elect Barack Obama's offer to head the Justice Department, a senior Democrat said on Tuesday.
If the appointment is confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first African American to become Attorney General.
Holder accepted the offer, pending a review to determine if he could win confirmation with broad Democratic and Republican support in the Senate, the senior Democrat said.
Michael Isikoff of Newsweek blogged about Holder earlier today:
Holder, 57, has been on Obama’s “short list” for attorney general from the outset. A partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling, Holder served as co-chief (along with Caroline Kennedy) of Obama’s vice-presidential selection process. He also actively campaigned for Obama throughout the year and grew personally close to the president-elect. Holder has not returned a call seeking comment; a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team told Newsweek in an e-mail early Tuesday afternoon that no decision has been made. [...]
The only hesitancy about Holder’s selection was that he himself had reservations about going through a confirmation process that was likely to revive questions about his role in signing off on the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. Although there is no evidence that Holder actively pushed the pardon, he was criticized for not raising with the White House the strong objections that some Justice Department lawyers and federal prosecutors in New York had to pardoning somebody who had fled the country. But after reviewing the evidence in the case, and checking with staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Obama aides and Holder both decided the issue was highly unlikely to prove an obstacle to his confirmation, one of the sources said--especially given the Democrats’ more sizable post-election majority in the Senate.
So that's the only holdup--Holder's contribution to the Rich pardon. That, and a little thing the mainstream media is being pretty quiet about: Holder's involvement in the Elian Gonzalez case. Here's a report from the British paper The Guardian from back in 2000:
Why did Washington intervene?
"I believe that reuniting Elian with his father is not only a matter of federal law. It is not a matter of immigration law. It is simply the right thing to do," said deputy attorney general Eric Holder. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) also argued that Elian had a "close and continuous relationship" with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzales, even though his parents were divorced and he was living with his late mother.
His late mother--the one who drowned trying to bring her son to America, and to freedom.
Eric Holder's voice is the one that can be heard on this YouTube clip, too; Mr. Holder is the one saying that the raid removed Elian from his relatives' home "sensitively" and denying that a gun was used:
And a look, from before the election, at how the Gonzalez case could haunt Obama was reported at this blog, which contains many news links about the Cuban-American community's unhappiness with the involvement of Eric Holder in Obama's campaign; one wonders what this community will think over the selection of Holder to be Attorney General.
The United States Attorney General heads the Justice Department, and is the government's chief lawyer. One would think that it would be a good thing to select someone for this office who did not think that handing a helpless child over to a Communist regime when his mother died trying to get for him a little thing called liberty was, "...simply the right thing to do." But apparently, The One doesn't agree.