Holder Nomination Has Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was joined by former Senator Republican Senator John Danforth and Former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson in a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to discuss the broad, bipartisan support for Eric H. Holder, Jr.’s nomination to be Attorney General of the United States.  Danforth and Hutchinson have both endorsed Holder’s nomination, and have joined a growing list of former Republican officials that support Holder’s nomination.  A confirmation hearing to consider Holder’s designation is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 15.

On Tuesday, Leahy also released letters of support from Charles G. La Bella, a former United States Attorney, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.  Civil rights leaders, national law enforcement organizations, and victims’ rights advocates have endorsed Holder’s nomination.

Leahy’s comments, as prepared, from Tuesday’s conference call follow.  Watch the confirmation proceedings on the designation of Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General, and read further letters of support and documents related to the designation online.

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The Designation Of Eric H. Holder, Jr.,
To Be Attorney General Of The United States
January 13, 2009

As Prepared

Last week, civil rights advocates and law enforcement leaders came to Capitol Hill to voice their support for Eric Holder.  Today, I’m happy to join with John Danforth, a former Republican Senator from Missouri, and Asa Hutchinson, a former U.S. Attorney, a former Republican Congressman from Arkansas, and former undersecretary for the Department of Homeland Security, to talk about this remarkable nominee.

In his more than 20 years of public service, Eric Holder has the experience and leadership qualities needed to steer the ship at the Department of Justice.   More than 80 individuals and organizations from law enforcement, the civil rights community, and crime victims’ advocacy have written to me, Senator Specter and other members of the Judiciary Committee in support of Mr. Holder’s nomination.  Former Republican officials, including Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Danforth, as well as former FBI Director Louis Freeh and, former Attorney General Bill Barr and former Deputy Attorneys General James Comey and Larry Thompson, have voiced their support for this nomination.

Surely this broad, bipartisan support is indicative of strong confidence in Mr. Holder’s ability to lead the nation’s top law enforcement agency.  To those who seek to question his character I would point out that it was Mr. Holder who urged the expansion of the Ken Starr investigation.  It was Mr. Holder who prosecuted Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski.  It was Mr. Holder who recommended that a special prosecutor investigate President Clinton’s Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.  After years of political interference in the Justice Department by the White House, Mr. Holder’s record of independence – and clear understanding and respect for the law – will be a breath of fresh air.

Of course, Mr. Holder was also tapped by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the bench for the Superior Court of Washington, D.C.  He was then nominated and confirmed to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Having done an outstanding job, in 1997, he was unanimously confirmed to be the Deputy Attorney General of the Justice Department.

When Mr. Holder is confirmed to be the next Attorney General, he will bring with him a respect for the integrity of the Justice Department – the integrity it has been so sorely lacking during this administration.  Republicans and Democrats alike have lauded this nomination.   Republican Members should apply the same standards to Mr. Holder’s nomination as they did when they all  voted to confirm President Bush’s nominees to head the Justice Department.   If they do so, he will win confirmation by the United States Senate overwhelmingly.

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*NOTE: Documents received from the Department of Justice in connection with the Holder nomination are available online.

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Letters of Support

Law Enforcement

Crime Victims

Civil Rights


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