Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Eric Holder’s going to have his hands full

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The Department of Justice is going to require an extensive makeover. Dahlia Lithwick comments in Slate:

The U.S. Justice Department faces an internal crisis in morale and a public crisis in credibility. And while every Justice Department pushes its political agenda alongside its lofty goals of upholding the law, the Bush Justice Department sometimes pushed its political agenda in direct violation of the law. The question now is whether Eric Holder, Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general, can fix it.

Nobody knows better than Holder that the line between law and politics at DoJ can be blurry. The one stain on his otherwise gilded legal career was the role he played, as No. 2 in the Clinton Justice Department, in the pardon of fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich during Clinton’s last hours. Holder didn’t give the pardon application much thought before concluding that he was “neutral leaning towards favorable.” Clinton relied in part on that advice in granting the pardon. Holder later testified before Congress that he’d made a mistake.

What Holder stands to inherit from Michael Mukasey and his predecessor Alberto Gonzales is not a Justice Department that was slightly confused about where the law began and politics ended. If confirmed, he will take over an institution where, at least in recent years, politics sometimes had no end. The department became fodder for late-night TV monologues in 2007 when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his staff flimflammed their way through congressional hearings about the partisan firings of eight U.S. attorneys. Those independent prosecutors were let go for failing to be—in the parlance of Gonzales’ underage underlings—”loyal Bushies.” More than a dozen officials resigned in the wake of that scandal.

Things at Justice worsened with internal reports finding the department had …

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Written by LeisureGuy

23 November 2008 at 9:03 am

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