Friday, May 14, 2010

For shame, Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder testified before a House oversight committee yesterday and revealed yet again how ill-suited he is to be in charge of the nations Department of Justice.

When asked about whether or not he and President Obama had tainted the jury pool for having a civilian trial of Khalid Sheik Muhammed by stating their public assurances that KSM will be found guilty, Holder breezily waved such concerns aside.
At an oversight hearing, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) challenged Holder over his statement that “failure is not an option” and over Obama’s comment in an interview last November that those skeptical of the idea of a civilian trial would be convinced “when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”

“You, as the attorney general of the United States, and certainly Mr. Obama, must know that KSM and his co- conspirators are afforded in our civilian courts the presumption of innocence,” Franks said.

Holder said his comment was not guaranteeing an outcome but trying to focus the prosecution team on the importance of their task.

“Maybe I can clear this up once and for all,” Holder said. “When I said failure is not an option, that was not a prediction about the course of the trial. It was from my perspective an exhortation [in] the way in which a coach talks to his players and tells them, you guys got to go out there and win this game, because failure is not an option. And that's what I was saying.”
Yeah, sure. At the time, he was brushing aside concerns that KSM might be found not guilty and allowed to walk. You all defendants might do so if they have a truly fair trial. So now they want to have their cake and eat it with shipped cream. Yes, they can guarantee KSM's conviction, but the world will be assured that he'll have a completely fair trial with the presumption of innocence.

And then Holder revealed that, despite going on the Sunday shows and expressing all his concerns about the Arizona immigration law and that the Justice Department may challenge the law's constitutionality. Yet the guy hasn't read the bill that he's criticizing.
In television interviews over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder warned that Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law could lead to racial profiling and might prompt Latinos to stop cooperating with police. However, it emerged at a House hearing Thursday that Holder hasn't actually read the statute.

"I have not had a chance to. I've glanced at it. I have not read it," Holder acknowledged in response to questions from Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).

"It's ten pages. It's a lot shorter than the health care bill, which was 2,000 pages long. I'll give you my copy of it, if you would like to -- to have a copy," Poe quipped during the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
Wouldn't he like to take a look at what he's denouncing? Or does he figure that such a mundane responsibility is beneath him when there is demagoguing to be done.

Apparently, he feels that it an act of responsibility for the nation's chief law official to base his pronouncements about the state's actions simply on what he hears in the media.
But Mr. Holder acknowledged to the committee that he hasn't read the law, and his criticisms were based on what he's seen on television or read in the newspapers about the law.

"I've just expressed concerns on the basis of what I've heard about the law. But I'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people who are doing the review, exactly what my position is," Mr. Holder said.

Last weekend, Mr. Holder told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the Arizona law "has the possibility of leading to racial profiling." He had earlier called the law's passage "unfortunate," and questioned whether the law was unconstitutional because it tried to assume powers that may be reserved for the federal government.
Wouldn't taking a look at the actual wording of the law, especially when it's not a long document, be what a responsible lawyer should do before going on TV and questioning the constitutionality of the law? He's not some loudmouth with a blog, but the head of the Department of Justice. Alas.