Djcnor’s Weblog

Obama’s Choices: #5 Eric Holder

Posted on: January 2, 2009

Sigh. Oh how I wish we had had an Attorney General worth his salt in the last  eight years. Apparently, instead we had one that took the part about Justice being blind literally! But the crimes can’t be erased. They still happened, and there are still folks like me who think the perpetrators should still be held to account, so let’s see if we can guess whether there’s any chance of that happening.

The job of the Attorney General of the US is to run the Justice Department. He’s the top law enforcement officer of the US and the top lawyer for the US. In general, he doesn’t represent the government in the Supreme Court (The Solicitor General does.), but he can.

Eric Holder’s roots are in Barbados, where both of his parents were born, but he’s another of Obama’s appointees who grew up in New York City, mostly in Queens. He’ll be the US’s first black Attorney General. This could be highly significant, if he chooses it to be. Anyone who has ever taken criminology or race/ethnic relations courses knows that blacks are more likely to be convicted than others with equal records and likely to get more severe sentences. This has a lot to do with the FACT that more young black men have served time in prison than have served in the military (and they are over-represented in the military) or have earned a college degree. Twenty percent of all black men born between 1965 and 1969 have spent time in prison. Less than 3% of white men have. There is a lot wrong with the US justice system that is race connected.

Eric Holder’s career has been in government justice departments, sometimes as a prosecutor, sometimes as a judge, sometimes chosen by Republicans, sometimes by Democrats. He has been involved with several prosecutions of government corruption, but was also hired by Illinois’s Blagojevich for an investigation of gaming. He’s opposed to the death penalty, as am I (Someday I’ll write a post about that.)  and has supported the DC gun ban. He opposes the Guantanamo detention camp and opposed the Patriot Act from the first (Maybe we’ll be rid of it soon).

I’m really pleased with this appointee. Well done, Obama!

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