One of many good things you can say about President Obama is that he is loyal to his friends. But sometimes, he is loyal to a fault, as is the case with Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderMichigan Republicans sue over US House district lines State courts become battlegrounds in redistricting fights New Hampshire Republicans advance map with substantially redrawn districts MORE. Presidential buddy or not, it’s time for Holder to go.
You expect a Democratic attorney general to make Republicans unhappy — which Holder has, on several fronts. He was even held in contempt of Congress by House Republicans over the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal. The problem is, he’s also disappointed and made Democrats angry — both by his actions and, worse, his inactions.
After 9/11, then-President George W. Bush personally approved the use of torture and massive phone snooping without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, both of which were illegal acts. Where was Eric Holder? Missing in action. Holder even defended the controversial “extreme rendition” program adopted by the Bush administration in the wake of the 2001 attacks.
In 2008, Wall Street bankers brought this nation to the brink of economic collapse and robbed Americans of trillions of dollars in savings. Some of them clearly broke the law, yet not one has been charged, prosecuted or sent to prison. Where was Eric Holder? Missing in action.
In 2011, more than 30 states enacted some form of voter suppression law, making it more difficult for people to vote, which is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act, not to mention the Constitution. Where was Eric Holder? Again, with few exceptions — notably South Carolina and Florida — he was missing in action.
Yet Holder found time to continue the aimless prosecution of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) — a case that cost taxpayers millions and ended in a mistrial. He found time to shut down dozens of medical marijuana clinics in California and warn residents of Washington and Colorado that he’ll continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws, even after voters in those two states approved the recreational use of marijuana.
Most grievously, his Department of Justice also found time to raid the phone records of The Associated Press, a wholesale assault on the First Amendment. Even though Holder recused himself from the actual investigation, it happened on his watch and under his policies. Now we learn they used the same tactics in 2009 against James Rosen of Fox News. And, while Republicans have been slow to confirm Obama’s judicial nominees, the DOJ’s been slow to submit names. As of April, 62 out of 85 vacancies on federal district and circuit courts had no nominees. Granted, Holder’s done some good things, such as no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act. But the bad or inadequate far outweighs the good. Holder has overstayed his welcome.
I’m not trying to be mean. There’s no need for Holder to be fired. He can simply step down with the classic spin: “I’ve decided to spend more time with my family.” After all, they haven’t seen enough of him lately. We’ve seen too much.
Press is host of “The Full-Court Press” on Current TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.