Goodbye to Eric Holder, With One Question

Eric Holder is on his way out, thankfully. In a farewell interview with Politico, he demonstrated again why he was unfit to be Attorney General. He trashes his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales:

I had to take a Justice Department that was in shambles, you know, when I got here: political hiring, political firing, exclusion of career people from decision making for political reasons.

Someone in Gonzales’s Justice Department tried to bring a little diversity to the almost monolithically liberal department by hiring a few conservatives, and got slapped down for it. Holder continues:

And so, I had to rebuild the department, put in place people who I thought would share my — my view of what this department ought to be.

But wait! How is “put[ting] in place people who…would share my view of what this department ought to be” different from “political hiring”? In fact, it was Holder, not Gonzales, who brought an unprecedented degree of politicization to DOJ. But Politico’s Mike Allen, a fellow Democrat, fawns uncritically.

He asks Holder about the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases:

MIKE ALLEN: Travyon Martin’s mother says George Zimmerman got away with murder. You’re writing a letter to Trayvon’s mother, his parents, what will it say?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I’m going to try to — it’s yeah — I’m going to pen a letter to them. -I’ve worked on it already, and I think I’d like to kind of keep that personal. …

MIKE ALLEN: And it looks like no federal charges in Ferguson or Trayvon. I’m a young African-American. What do I think?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I would say, first, I would note I have not announced anything with regard to — to Ferguson. …

MIKE ALLEN: Mr. Attorney General, are the standards of the civil rights laws too high for you to make cases in instances like this?

AG. HOLDER: I mean that’s certainly something that I’m going to want to talk about before I leave. I think some serious consideration needs to be given to the standard of proof that has to be met before federal involvement is appropriate, and that’s something that I am going to be talking about before — before I leave office.

MIKE ALLEN: And in what sense have you come to realize that the standards in the civil rights laws are too high?

AG. HOLDER: Well, I think that if we adjust those standards, we can make the federal government a better backstop, make us more a part of the process in an appropriate way to reassure the American people that decisions are made by people who are really disinterested, and I think that if we make those adjustments, we will have that capacity.

Those pesky laws keep getting in the way! It is hard to imagine what Holder means by “standard of proof.” The laws they are talking about are criminal (principally 18 U.S.C. §242, which could apply to Ferguson, and 18 U.S.C. §249, which could apply to the Martin/Zimmerman case), and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finally, Allen asks Holder whether people opposed him because of his race:

MIKE ALLEN: Now, there clearly have been times more recently since then when you have felt disrespected on Capitol Hill. How much of that do you think relates to race?

AG. HOLDER: It’s hard to say. You know, hard to look into people’s minds, you know, their hearts.

MIKE ALLEN: But were there times when you thought that was a piece of it?

AG. HOLDER: Yeah, there have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it.

MIKE ALLEN: Now, the piece of it that was racial, how did that make you feel?

This is the kind of tough questioning that Democrats get from “reporters.” A more appropriate question would have been, Since pretty much everyone who holds a high federal office gets criticized, what reason do you have to think that criticism of you had anything to do with race?

But I actually have a different question for Eric Holder: Your predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, was mercilessly savaged by Democrats. In fact, you savaged him in this very interview. Were Democrats’ criticisms of Gonzales based on race? And if not, why not?

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