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Tag Archives: Eric Holder

Eric Holder, Civil Libertarian?

Attorney General Eric Holder Friday moved to limit a practice that I can’t even believe is happening. I have to be careful here, because it seems so unlikely, but Eric Holder has apparently struck a blow for freedom.

Under “civil forfeiture” laws, police are permitted to seize your property – a practice called “adoption” – without a warrant and then make you prove – under, I suppose, the theory of the presumption of guilt – that you own it and deserve it back. Holder ended the ability of local police departments to make the seizures under federal law, which will diminish the practice, though not entirely eliminate it.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

The practice has brought in an astonishing $3 billion since 2008, covering about 55,000 seizures. Many of the targets are small businesses caught unfairly in some prosecution maw without the legal means to fight back.

According to the Institute for Justice, which tracks and litigates civil-forfeiture cases, 80% of people whose property is seized by the feds are never charged with a crime. The funds gathered by state and local law enforcement often exceed annual operating budgets, creating incentives for police to take property first, answer questions later.

The Washington Post did an investigation which found widespread abuse and injustice:

The Post found that local and state police routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions, pressed them to agree to warrantless searches and seized large amounts of cash without evidence of wrongdoing. The law allows such seizures and forces the owners to prove their property was legally acquired in order to get it back.

Police spent the seizure proceeds with little oversight, in some cases buying luxury cars, high-powered weapons and military-grade gear such as armored cars, according to an analysis of Justice Department data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

I can’t tell you exactly why Holder did this. The last time I got inside his head, I saw too much scary stuff, and I refuse to go back. Reportedly, there was political pressure from both sides of the aisle.

Whatever the cause, great job, Mr. Holder.

Holder Declares the War on Terror Back On

Attorney General Eric Holder Sunday acknowledged that the United States is in a “war” against terror, just about a year and a half after President Obama declared the war over.

It was May 23, 2013 when the president arrived at the National Defense University in Washington to say it was time to put all this talk of war to rest:

Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue, but this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises; that’s what our democracy demands . . . We must define our effort not as a boundless”‘Global War on Terror,” but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America

Sunday, Holder suggested those statements were no longer operative. The war, it appears, is on again!

Holder acknowledged the war on terror while he was busy dodging questions on two Sunday talk shows about whether we were fighting Islamist terrorists. Which is too bad because we’re fighting . . . Islamist terrorists.

“Well, I would say we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who…use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions,” he said on one show.

“Well, I certainly think that we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks and who would corrupt the Islamic faith in the way that they do, to try to justify their terrorist actions,” he said on another.

Have a look.

This is not just semantics.

A war requires a comprehensive strategy, constant attention, and a high level of commitment. “Persistent, targeted efforts” require monitoring, sporadic activity, and donuts.

Now here’s something I didn’t think I’d be saying today: Thank you, Eric Holder.

Holder Rejects Whitaker Racism Charge

In an uncomfortable turn of events, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, a close Obama friend, rejected a charge by Chicagoan Eric Whitaker, a close Obama friend, that a federal corruption case involving former Whitaker associates was tinged by racism.

“Almost everybody who’s been indicted or scrutinized has been African American,” Whitaker said last week, suggesting that the U.S. prosecutor, who technically works for Holder, was conducting a “selective” investigation.

“I have no evidence that there’s a basis to that claim,” Holder said.  “I am familiar with the prosecutors who brought those cases, and I’m pretty confident that the bringing of those cases, the investigation of those cases, was done on a non-race based basis.”

The charge got Whitaker out of testifying as prosecutors backed away from forcing him to talk once he played the race card.

Holder Suggests Police Can Be an “Occupying Force”

Speaking about Ferguson to a largely African American audience at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated police are sometimes an “occupying force” in black neighborhoods.

“Our police officers cannot be, and cannot be seen as, an occupying force disconnected to the communities that they serve,” Holder said.

Holder was speaking about steps the administration is taking to foster greater cooperation between police and minorities. He said he will announce in coming days new initiatives to counter racial profiling.

Nevertheless, he got heckled. His response helped swing the audience back in his corner.

“There will be a tendency on the part of some to condemn what we just saw, but we should not,” he said. “What we saw there was a genuine expression of concern and involvement. And it is through that level of involvement, that level of concern, and I hope a level of perseverance and commitment, that change ultimately will come. And so let me be clear, let me be clear, I ain’t mad atcha.”

Did Holder Cause the National Guard to be Kept From Ferguson?

The Republican Lieutenant governor of Missouri today said he believes the state’s Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, did not deploy National Guard troops to Ferguson to prevent the outbreak of violence because of pressure from the Obama administration to keep them away.

“Here’s my question that the governor must answer,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said today. “Is the reason that the national guard was not in there is because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out?”

Kinder noted that the Guard had been sent to other locations in the region. “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in (to Ferguson) to stop this, before it started,” he said.

Indeed, there were reports Holder was not happy with Nixon’s efforts to display force and use the National Guard. From an article Friday in the Washington Post:

Holder also expressed concerns privately about Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision this week to declare a state of emergency at a news conference and activate the National Guard . . .

A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles last night said that the National Guard had not been deployed to Ferguson before – and even well after – violence erupted in the city, and that he could not even reach officials to get help. The failure to deploy the Guard appears in his view to have allowed violence to spiral out of control.

The desperate mayor spoke with a local news outlet:

They were deployed at other parts of the St. Louis region . . . Why were they not in (Ferguson) at the first sign of an overturned police car or a smashed police car window with a show of course that would have stopped this?

I know I’ve been on the phone in contact with the County Executive’s Office. I know he has requested. I am requesting. I’ve requested the National Guard troops to come out from the command post to help restore order along the business district. We have not seen that.

It’s my understanding that the commanders out on the street have requested this, and those calls have gone unheeded at this point . . . We need to have the governor step up, give us the resources that he’s promised from the beginning. He stated he would have a strong response, that the resources necessary would be provided. They have not been provided so far. We need that right now.

Here are videos of Kinder and Knowles.

Obama Names Loretta Lynch to Replace Holder

Updated 7:35 pm ET

President Obama will name New York City federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General. The news was first reported by CNN.

Loretta_Lynch_US_AttorneyLynch is not considered a showboat or a headline grabber, and she seems a lock for confirmation, having already been confirmed twice for posts unanimously by the Senate.

Making a relatively noncontroversial choice could be seen as an effort by Obama to build relations with Republicans, who no doubt will be steaming mad about his upcoming executive order on immigration.

It would mean rejecting Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, seen as a left-wing firebrand who previously led the DOJ civil rights division, for the post.

Lynch’s perhaps most famous case was the conviction of a white New York City police officer who sodomized Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant, with a broken broomstick in 1997.

Lynch, 54, would be the first African American female attorney general. She was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

UPDATE: It’s now official, Lynch will be nominated to be attorney general.

Holder Goes Racial

Attorney General Holder dropped the race card on the table today, throwing down a clear suggestion that the mistreatment he thinks he’s getting from Republicans is based not on the content of his character – which actually, it is – but on the color of his skin. From remarks today at Al Sharpton’s National Action… Continue Reading

Holder Hearing Fireworks

The mutual disdain House Republicans and Attorney General Eric Holder have for each other was on full display during a House hearing Tuesday, with Holder and Rep. Louis Goehmert (R-Texas) exchanging contempt over Holder’s contempt. Have a look. Then another GOP Texas congressman Rep. Blake Fatenthold, suggested Holder should be in jail. Continue Reading

Attorney General Holder Hospitalized

Updated 2:41 pm ET. From the Department of Justice. During his regular morning meeting with senior staff, the Attorney General began experiencing symptoms including faintness and shortness of breath. As a precaution, the Attorney General was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center to undergo further evaluation. He is currently resting comfortably and in good condition.… Continue Reading

Holder to Seek Death for Tsarnaev

The Justice Department today said it will seek the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Islamist who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon last year, killing three and wounding more than 200.  This is quite a commendable action by Holder, who is personally against the death penalty. Holder said in a statement: After consideration… Continue Reading

WSJ Accuses Holder of “Racial Politics”

Pretty blunt for the Wall Street Journal. According to an op-ed by the WSJ editors running today, Attorney General Eric Holder is suing states over their voting rights laws in order to gin up black voter turnout. All the evidence suggests that Mr. Holder’s real motive here is political. Portraying voter ID laws as racist… Continue Reading