AG Holder on Arizona and Guantanamo
Attorney General Eric Holder was at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week, where he was interviewed by CBS's Bob Schieffer for a segment of CBS Face the Nation that aired today.
There's not much new in his interviews. Basically, he said that the Arizona lawsuit is based on the pre-emption argument -- that the state law violates the Constitution's Supremacy Clause. The racial profiling argument was weaker because there's no evidence of it yet. He said down the road, should evidence develop that the law is resulting in racial profiling, the Government will have the tools to make the challenge. [More...]
Some opponents of the law have focused on the argument that it could lead to racial discrimination. Holder said, however, that at this time, the Justice Department's argument based in preemption is stronger at this time.
"It doesn't mean that if the law, for whatever reason, happened to go into effect that six months from now, a year from now, we might not look at the impact the law has had and... see whether or not there has been that racial profiling impact," he said. "And if that was the case, we would have the tools, and we would bring suit on that basis."
On closing Guantanamo and the scheduling of the 9/11 defendants' trials, Holder said politics is holding up both.
On the 9/11 trials:
"Republicans and Democrats arguing about this in a political way, as opposed to dealing with the substance... is something that I think is regrettable and has resulted, I think, in the delays that we have seen."
Holder still prefers federal court trials over military tribunals, but sounds willing to accept a decision for the latter.
"There have been a really limited number of people who have been tried in the military tribunals, which is not to say that they should not be used," he said. "But... I think if we try to exclude the federal criminal justice system, we are taking away one of the tools that we have. And I think ultimately we make this nation much weaker. That's a very dangerous thing, I think, to take that tool out of our hands."
On closing Guantanamo:
This is another instance where I think politics, unfortunately, has entered into this discussion," he said. "I think there's a lot of misinformation out there. We have proven an ability to hold in our federal prison system people convicted of, charged with terrorist offenses very effectively, very safely. There is no reason to believe that people held in Guantanamo cannot be held wherever we put them in the United States."
..."Guantanamo… serves as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda," he said. "The intelligence shows that, continues to show that that is true. It has served as a wedge between us and our traditional allies. We have done all that we can to try to close Guantanamo."
On that last note, does anyone believe Obama has done all he can to close Gitmo?
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