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Will GOP hold up Holder confirmation?

ericholder1Might the confirmation process for President-elect Barack Obama’s attorney general designate be tougher than previously expected?

Yesterday, ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Republican Arlen Specter blasted Eric Holder, questioning Holder’s independence and saying that his record in the Clinton Justice Department shows that he may be merely a presidential “yes” man.

specter“He’s had an outstanding academic and professional record, and I acknowledge that early on,” Mr. Specter said of Holder in a 25-minute Senate floor speech yesterday, according to The New York Times. “But aside from these qualifications on Mr. Holder’s résumé, there is also the issue of character, and sometimes it is more important for the attorney general to have the stature and the courage to say no instead of to say yes.”

Specter’s warnings about Holder could signal a rockier-than-expected confirmation for the nominee. Although Holder has enough Senate support to be confirmed, the hearings, which start Jan. 15, may feature some fireworks.

An Obama spokesman brushed aside Specter’s criticisms. “From prosecuting corrupt officials from both parties to supporting the appointment of independent counsels to investigate Democrats, Eric Holder has demonstrated throughout his career that he has the integrity and independence to be an outstanding attorney general,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

Meanwhile this morning, Senate Judiciary Committee members Sheldon Whitehouse and Benjamin Cardin are set to join leaders of groups including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Council of La Raza and the National Women’s Law Center to voice support for the nominee in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room on the Hill.


  1. See following letter, which I sent to the Judiciary Committee.

    Atty. Michael H. Agranoff, 99 Stafford Road, Ellington, CT 06029

    November 24, 2008

    Hon. Arlen Specter
    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C.

    Re: Atty. Eric Holder

    Dear Senator Specter:

    I am writing to request that you deny the confirmation of Atty. Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States, and that you urge President-Elect Obama to withdraw his name from consideration.

    I am perfectly aware that Atty. Holder is qualified for the position, on paper. Nevertheless, his appointment would be a slap in the face to millions of honest taxpayers. It would cause me, personally, to lose confidence in my government.

    Millions of persons, like myself, pay our taxes voluntarily. We do not cheat; we do not conceal income; we do not pad expenses. We know that if we get in trouble with the IRS, we can expect, at best, a miserable experience, which would be time-consuming, expensive, and worrisome.

    Millions more are unable to pay their taxes, often through no fault of their own, or through inadvertent negligence.

    Mr. Marc Rich fell into none of these categories. He had the means to pay his taxes, and the full knowledge that these taxes were due. He simply evaded them, illegally.

    His unjust enrichment is bad enough. But what it really means is that millions of honest Americans have to make up the burden. And we do not have the resources that he has.

    It must be noted that Mr. Rich avoided taxes by buying his way out, through a gift to the Clinton’s. He did this, not with his own legitimate money, but with money that he in effect stole from me and from millions of others by illegal financial manipulations AND by tax evasion.

    This, of course, also calls the judgment of the Clinton’s into question. Senator Clinton is of course also qualified, on paper, to be the U.S. Secretary of State. Yet her judgment must be considered. By copy of this letter, I request that she publicly repudiate Mr. Rich, publicly repudiate the pardon, and publicly return any money that she or President Clinton received, directly or indirectly, from Mr. Rich.

    This does not even count the pardon of the FALN terrorists, people whom the trial Judge said that he would have sentenced to death if he could. And now those terrorists are free.

    What would have happened to an ordinary person who avoided taxes? What would have happened to an ordinary person who committed a terrorist act, but was not a member of an ethnic group from whom politicians needed votes?

    This is not a complicated, complex, or difficult matter.

    I stated earlier that Atty. Holder is qualified for Attorney General, on paper. I believe, however, that his judgment disqualifies him. Obviously, Atty. Holder will maintain that he should not be penalized for a mere lapse in judgment. Yet his lapses were far more serious that those of prior Attorney General nominees who were forced to withdraw due to hiring nannies without paying social security taxes, a far less serious lapse; and one less costly to American taxpayers.

    I strongly urge you to vote against Atty. Holder as United States Attorney General.

    The American people need confidence in their government. We have to believe that our senior officials are looking out for our welfare. Atty. Holder’s approval as U.S. Attorney General would not accomplish those objectives.

    Thank you.

    Respectfully yours,


    cc: Hon. Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

    Hon. Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

    Editor, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115

    Editor, Journal Inquirer, 306 Progress Drive, Manchester, CT 06040


  2. Mr. Agranoff,

    As a layman, I don’t profess to know all the ins and outs of law; however, I can see a blatant partisan attempt to obstruct Mr. Holder’s confirmation. It is obvious to many that this is merely a stall tactic with the intent to leave no time left on the clock for Mr. Holder to pursue investigation and prosecution of Bush Administration individuals with regard to warrantless wiretapping and torture, not to mention the firing of many qualified judges based on their political beliefs. If we wanted a true ‘yes man’, we would have retained the previous Atty. General.

    After 72 filibusters in the senate over the last two years, everyone knows that the GOP has tried to obstruct any progress by anyone exept their own party and their narrow agenda.

    Please cease this ugly unamerican attempt to aid the Bush administration in circumventing justice.

    Thank You,
    Bill Dotson

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