While president-elect Obama appears to be moving to the center on economic policies, it is important to keep our eyes on the attorney general position because the legal system is the vehicle through which Obama plans to really shift the nation left.
Eric Holder, who gained his law degree from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1976, has been nominated by Obama to be the next US attorney general. He would be the first black in the post. Holder is of Caribbean descent.
Holder first was nominated to serve as a judge of the superior court of the District of Columbia by Ronald Reagan in 1988. In 1993, Holder was nominated by Bill Clinton as US attorney for the District of Columbia. He became deputy attorney general of the United States, the #2 post at the Justice Department, in 1997. He briefly served as acting attorney general until John Ashcroft was approved by the senate in 2001 to serve as president George W. Bush’s first attorney general.
The office of the United States attorney general is described as the head of the Department of Justice, chief law enforcement officer of the United States and chief lawyer of the US government. The office was established under the Judiciary Act of 1789 which says that the original duties of attorney general were “to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments.”
Holder’s nomination should give us pause because the AG acts as the de facto model for the nation’s jurisprudence. But Holder has been involved in four controversial cases since his rise to national prominence in 1997, each of which gives an indication where he might take our legal system. None is encouraging. Below are the four cases, with a comment following each.
1) The most famous case involved Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was brought to Florida in November 1999 after his mother and 10 others had drowned during their boat trip to freedom. Elian had been set in an inner tube and was picked up by American fishermen.
After a prolonged legal battle, Elian was seized at gunpoint by immigration officials from his great uncle’s home in Miami and eventually returned to his father and to Cuba.
Below is an interview involving Holder from Fox news on April 23, 2000. Jeff Asman is talking to Fox judicial analyst judge Andrew Napolitano after asylum had been applied for in Elian’s name by his guardian, his great uncle Lazaro Gonzalez:
Napolitano: The order issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals four days ago …. said once the INS chooses the guardian, and the INS chose Lazaro Gonzalez to be the guardian, and an application for asylum has been made by the guardian, the INS can not change the guardian and that’s exactly what they did here.” Asman: “So is this executive overreach?”Napolitano: “This is more than executive overreach. This is contempt of the circuit court of appeals order. This is a high class kidnapping is what it is, sanctioned by no law, sanctioned by no judge…”
In an interview later that morning, Napolitano questioned Eric Holder:
Napolitano: Tell me, Mr. Holder, why did you not get a court order authorizing you to go in and get the boy?Holder: Because we didn’t need a court order. INS can do this on its own.Napolitano: You know that a court order would have given you the cloak of respectability to have seized the boy.Holder: We didn’t need an order.Napolitano: Then why did you ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for such an order if you didn’t need one?Holder: [Silence]Napolitano: The fact is, for the first time in history you have taken a child from his residence at gunpoint to enforce your custody position, even though you did not have an order authorizing it.
Earlier in that interview:
Napolitano: When is the last time a boy, a child, was taken at the point of a gun without an order of a judge. Unprecedented in American history.”Holder: “He was not taken at the point of a gun.”Napolitano: “We have a photograph showing he was taken at the point of a gun.” (Editorial note: The famous photograph of an armed soldier from the US Border Patrol’s BORTAC unit was taken by Alan Diaz and won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography.)Holder: “They were armed agents who went in there who acted very sensitively…”
Two weeks before the raid that seized Elian, NBC’s Tim Russert asked Holder: “You wouldn’t send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?”
Holder said: “No, we don’t expect anything like that to happen.”
When the INS did exactly that Russert asked Holder in a later interview: “Why such a dramatic change in position?”
Holder responded: “I’m not sure I’d call it a dramatic change. We waited ’til five in the morning, just before dawn.” (of April 22, 2000)
Meanwhile Obama’s nominee as White House Counsel, Greg Craig, was the lawyer who represented Elian Gonzalez’s father, who was living in Cuba at the time and still is. Elian eventually was returned to his father and then returned to Cuba with his father.
Comment: So for once, liberals sided with the father in a custody case, but only since the father lived in a communist nation.
Those Holder interviews show a disrespect for law. And this type of uncertainty and concocted law really is not what we should expect of an attorney general. That Holder would be silent when Napolitano asked “Then why did you ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for such an order if you didn’t need one?” shows that Holder does not have the ability to interpret the law and make a case for sound legal actions.
2) Holder was the driving force behind Bill Clinton’s pardon of 16 members of the communist FALN Puerto Rican terrorist group which executed an estimated 146 bombings and a string of armed robberies in the US and Puerto Rico between 1974 and 1983, killing six and wounding many. Their attacks included the infamous January 24, 1975 bombing at Fraunces Tavern in New York City which was populated by people out for a meal. The bomb killed four and injured more than 50. FALN took responsibility.
The terrorists in that case were belligerent and unrepentant. Ida Rodriguez told the judge, “You say we have no remorse. You’re right. … Your jails and your long sentences will not frighten us.”
After 18 years in prison, eight of the Fraunces Tavern terrorists were pardoned by Bill Clinton. Clinton’s press people claimed that the terrorists hurt no one, which is untrue. Clinton issued a pardon on August 11, 1999 for a total of 16 terrorists. He did this for one reason alone: To please New York City’s big Puerto Rican electorate in anticipation of Hillary’s first run for US senate in 2000.
As deputy attorney general at the time, Eric Holder had to sign off on all clemency pleas that went to Clinton. And he recommended for the FALN 16 despite opposition from the FBI and Clinton’s own Justice Department.
Louis Freeh, FBI director in September 1999, wrote that clemency “would likely return committed, experienced sophisticated and hardened terrorists to the clandestine movement.”
But rather than consult bombing victims and their families, Holder met with members of Congress and then recommended a course of action for the terrorists to take.
Comment: This is hardly the way an attorney general should act. This was a blatant disregard for the common security of the American people. This is the type of legal laxity that led to 9/11, where terrorists were either not pursued during the Clinton years, or were pursued in venues like American courtrooms that treated them like common criminals rather than international terrorists.
3) In another controversial action, Holder in January 2001 participated in one of the most notorious pardons of all time, Clinton’s last-minute clemency for fugitive financier Marc Rich. As deputy AG, Holder consulted with one-time White House counsel Jack Quinn who acted as Rich’s lawyer.
Rich has never served time in prison. He fled the United States and has lived in Switzerland since 1983 after being indicted on charges of evading more than $100 million in income taxes and other frauds including arms dealing, and business transactions with Iran for oil.
In exchange for Rich’s pardon, Rich’s ex-wife Denise gave almost a half-million dollars to Clinton’s presidential library foundation; $1.1 million to the Democrat party; and $109,000 to Hillary Clinton’s senate campaign.
Comment: Holder played dumb in the Rich case, saying he did not know much about Rich. Is this the type of person we want as attorney general? Someone who works to grant clemency to people who don’t deserve it any way, shape of form, people who fled justice and the United States? What does this say about Holder? Pardoning a person like Rich hardly seems like a worthy goal for a president or a deputy attorney general.
4) As deputy attorney general, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control, federal licensing of handgun owners, a waiting period on handgun sales, restricting handgun sales to one per month, banning possession of handguns by anyone under age of 21, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for minor offenses like giving a child an heirloom handgun if he were too young.
Holder also quoted the anti-gun propaganda that every day “about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence” which is true only if you include 18-year-old gang members.
Holder also co-signed an amicus brief in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark firearms case which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in favor of gun ownership as an individual right.
The brief was filed in support of DC’s ban on all handguns, and a ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home, saying that the 2nd Amendment is a “collective” right, not an individual one.
After 9/11, Holder authored a *Washington Post *column entitled ‘Keeping Guns Away From Terrorists’ arguing that a new law should give “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a record of every firearm sale.”
Comment: This type of thinking goes against the Natural Law on which American freedom is based. One of Natural Law’s primary tenets is that all people have the right to self-defense, which may sound like common sense. But in America today, people who harm criminals in defending themselves against those criminals frequently are prosecuted. This has happened under liberalism, which entrusts all defense to the courts – often after it is too late – and none to individual action. So there is no intrinsic right to self-defense according to liberal socialism.
Real self-defense today means the individual right to own a gun in order to defend both your person and your home. Holder’s persistently anti-gun positions disqualify him from being an acceptable candidate for attorney general of the United States.
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