Eric Holder Confirmed as Attorney General

It's official. Eric Holder is our Attorney General, having been confirmed by a vote of 75 to 21. All 21 were Republicans.

As I wrote earlier today, I'm not expecting much positive change in our criminal justice system. But, if there are any, I'll be glad to report on them and thank both President Obama and Attorney General Holder.

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    Here's a curiosity from the vote (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:25:47 AM EST
    Jeff Sessions voted for Holder, but Dick Shelby voted against. Sessions is odious, but a smoother talker. Shelby doesn't talk much at all, but comparison.

    Jeff Sessions (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 12:43:19 AM EST
    was one of the most hardline U.S. Attorneys on drug cases I've encountered -- before he was a Senator -- him voting for Holder doesn't leave a good feeling. One of the worst places to do a drug case in the 80's was Mobile, AL. I have such strong memories still of Mobile from that case and it was 20 plus years ago. I've asked my other Mobile lawyer friends if it's changed, and they say no.

    I've mentioned before that Sessions has one of the four pending crack-powder sentencing ratio bills pending in the Senate. His wants to raise powder penalties to meet crack:

    There's Sen. Jeff Sessions bill, S. 1383, which is co-sponsored by Democrat Ken Salazar (Colorado) and Republicans John Cornyn and Mark Pryor. It would reduce the 10 year threshhold for powder from 5 kilos to 4 kilos while increasing the threshold for crack from 50 grams to 250 grams. That's still an unacceptable a disparity of 4 kilos to 250 grams. (For the 5 year mandatory minimum, it would go from 500 grams of powder to 400 grams of powder and 5 grams of crack to 20 grams, with a resulting disparity of 400 grams to 20 grams.)

    Sessions is another good reason for term limits.


    Disagree with you totally on term limits (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:19:10 AM EST
    Sessions is very much in tune with the Alabama electorate, and they would choose another just like him if he were term limited. IMO people should not be artificially limited in choosing their representatives. Nevertheless, I can't say anything more about Sessions than that I find him odious. I doubt there's an issue he and I agree on. I just thought it was strange that he voted for Holder while Shelby didn't. As Alabama politics go, Shelby is considered more moderate.

    In any event, Sessions spoke briefly on the floor today, and seemed to suggest that he was holding his fire for Elena Kagan.


    At least he is for equality!?! (none / 0) (#7)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 08:15:25 AM EST
    jeralyn, perhaps you missed (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 01:51:57 AM EST
    Sessions is another good reason for term limits.

    that day in constitutional law class; we already have term limits, it's called "elections". as andgarden noted, why should i be kept, by legislative fiat, from voting for my choice?

    shelby is moderate, if by moderate, you mean he doesn't believe in floggings in the public square, but behind prison walls.

    what you fail to understand jeralyn, is that "jim crow" is alive and well in the states of the old confederacy. instead of poll taxes and literacy tests, they've taken advantage of the "war on drugs", to accomplish the same goal, with federal funding and approval.

    to some degree, slavery has been resurrected as well; take a look at the demographics of southern prison populations. i expect you'll note a pattern. they get contracted out to local businesses, for basically room & board.

    Can't be worse (none / 0) (#5)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 04:56:35 AM EST
    After Gonzales, anything has to be an improvement. I still have concerns over the "suggested" back room agreement he reached with Republican's in regard to prosecuting Bush cronies.

    Reason for my concern (none / 0) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 05:16:24 AM EST
    Holder unambiguously called the use of waterboarding against suspected terrorists a form of torture that violated the Geneva Conventions, but he has said that prosecuting intelligence officials who followed Justice Department guidance would be "difficult."

    What about going after the DOJ officials that twisted the guidelines? I'm not interested in going after those at the bottom of the chain, (like they did with Abu Grah).

    Bond said that while Holder's answer focused on U.S. officials who were following the administration's legal advice, "I told him, and I believe he understood, that trying to prosecute these lawyers or political leaders would generate a political firestorm."

    Maybe a firestorm is just what is needed to put the department and the country back on the right track.