Eric Holder approached his time in the attorney general’s office not as a sober upholder of the law but as a straightforward liberal activist. He was appointed by President Obama not to enforce the law but to change and twist it according to liberal preferences. As he ends his tenure, he is taking a victory lap for his contributions to the cause.
That this work meant thwarting the will of the America people doesn’t bother him in the least. Referring to gay marriage, he wrote recently, “I am proud to have had the opportunity not only to watch this great national pivot, but to take part in it.” By “national pivot,” he means the legal elite’s disregard for existing law in favor of their ideology.
Most attorney generals have taken pride in defending the law. Holder takes pride in having ignored it. He brags that “I recommended to President Obama that the Department of Justice no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act,” an act of defiance that his liberal counterparts on the Supreme Court ended up rewarding. Holder is now urging the Court to disregard the Constitution as originally written and impose gay marriage on all the states.
He sounds when speaking about the issue less like an attorney general than an MSNBC pundit. Holder is happy to engage in low polemics against anyone who disagrees with him. Gay marriage opponents aren’t just wrong, in his view, but positively vile. They support the infliction of “mental and emotional injuries” through their opposition. They support a “stigma that pervades society, encouraging individuals to harass or belittle even their loved ones because of pressures brought by their community.”
Making such wild pronouncements has defined his tenure as attorney general. He didn’t so much want to serve the American people as correct them. Mobs, on the other hand, deserved his deference. He joined with Al Sharpton in listening to their views very carefully.
Even though the Ferguson riots rested on a lie about a blameless police officer, a lie that Holder’s own lawyers have had to acknowledge, Holder remains blithely supportive of the riots. “[A]lthough some community perceptions of Michael Brown’s tragic death may not have been accurate, the widespread conditions that these perceptions were based upon, and the climate that gave rise to them, were all too real,” he has said.
His report on Ferguson’s police practices doesn’t establish such a dramatic conclusion. The report establishes problems in the department but falls short of proving racist practices (apart from identifying a handful of racist jokes in emails), which explains why Holder used the hedging phrase, “implicit bias,” in it.
“Implicit bias” is just a euphemism for unproven assertions. Ferguson’s disparate arrest rates do not constitute automatic evidence of racism. Holder says that he can’t find an “alternative explanation” for them other than bias but that’s because he isn’t trying very hard. He is looking at the facts not as a hardheaded attorney general but as an ideologue eager to accuse police departments of racism.
At the very least he should acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree about a matter as complex as arrest rates. For Holder to say that “widespread conditions” within the department explain the horrific riots is reckless. Whatever misconduct he found in it doesn’t come close to confirming the existence of police officers capable of killing harmless suspects out of racial animus.
Holder’s sympathy for the rioters can even be seen in his recent description of the shooter of two Ferguson police officers. The harshest description Holder could muster for the shooter was “damn punk,” which makes the crime of shooting police officers sound about as serious as shoplifting.
Holder’s idea of giving responsible direction to such damn punks has been to encourage them to read the autobiography of Malcolm X. He made that book recommendation in February. As the most politicized attorney general ever, Holder felt comfortable commending to the nation’s youth the thoughts of a criminal and radical.
In the name of eliminating racism, Holder encouraged a left-wing revolutionary variant of racism, which culminated in violence, looting, and mayhem. It is fitting that he will be principally remembered as attorney general not for fighting crime but for condoning it.
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