In the wake of the news of Eric Holder’s resignation, many voices are weighing in on the legacy he will leave behind. Newscasters have called him the president’s most trusted ally. He is noted to be the first black attorney general. But here’s the core: Holder will be remembered as a man who completely politicized the Department of Justice.
In recent days, some have questioned the ability of the Secret Service to protect the president. However, no one has questioned Eric Holder’s ability to use the Justice Department to protect the president.
Abandoning any precept of neutrality, Holder has served not as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, but instead as the president’s top policy-enforcement officer. Holder has used the Department of Justice to impose the president’s positions and protect his reputation — from stonewalling the investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal to dismissing voter intimidation by the Black Panthers.
His department was responsible for unlawful monitoring of the press. He used his office to work against state voter-ID laws, efforts to improve election integrity. In concert with Obama, he helped create, in the words of John Yoo, “a second, absolute veto on Acts of Congress” — an executive precedent that one can only hope will expire with his tenure.
Holder’s actions have spoken for themselves, but his words are telling as well. He described himself as a racial-justice “activist,” which explains why he’s involved the Department of Justice in many high-profile local cases.
The results are telling too. Holder is the only sitting Attorney General to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives, a vote supported by seventeen of his fellow Democrats. His legal advice to President Obama has been repeatedly refuted by the Supreme Court.
As the editors at National Review Online summarized: “The duty of the attorney general has historically been to advise against unconstitutional or illegal activity; Holder instead regularly aided and abetted it.”
For the nation’s benefit, he cannot leave soon enough.
That being said, I cannot imagine that the president will appoint anyone who will behave any better, or who is likely to see the position any differently. Obama has proven time and time again that he chooses appointees not for their qualifications or commitment to blind justice, but for their dedication to the cause of big-government.
Neither is it reassuring to hear that Al Sharpton may be making recommendations for Holder’s replacement. “We are engaged with immediate conversations with the White House on deliberations over a successor whom we hope will continue in the general direction of Attorney General Holder,” he said in a press release. No one is sure why Al Sharpton has any say on the matter.
Will the people get an appointee whose first obligation is to the law, not a party or ideology? Will the nation’s next top law enforcement officer work to serve and protect all American citizens, not just limited group of “my people”?
Sadly, the answer seems obvious.