Did Holder Have a Choice?
August 25, 2009
Marc Ambinder makes a smart point about Eric Holder's decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogators: There was so much information in the public domain--and so much information that would eventually be released--that the attorney general could no longer argue that no specific instances of lawbreaking had been brought to his attention.
Special Prosecutor to Investigate Alleged CIA Torture
August 24, 2009
Today marks two important moments in the debate over torture: the release of a 2004 report by the then-CIA Inspector General regarding interrogation techniques, and also the decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the violation of torture laws in interrogations (as the AP is now reporting). And it seems that Attorney General Eric Holder has chosen prosecutor John Durham to spearhead the investigations. Durham’s was a name that was thrown around as a front runner last month when the idea was growing some initial steam.
Gates-gate is the culmination of one of those occasional spates of race-related events that occur and flow into one another over a month or so. These spates are, in fact, precisely the “conversation” on race that Attorney General Eric Holder claims does not happen in America. What, after all, has all of this talk been from the Ricci decision through to the uproar over what happened on Henry Louis Gates’ front porch?
July 23, 2009
Over the past few days, there’s been much speculation over whether Attorney General Eric Holder will launch an investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11. One of the top contenders in leading an investigation seems to be John Durham, a name you probably don’t recognize--or may have forgotten. So who is this low-key prosecutor that may take on the most high-profile national case since Watergate? Durham began his career at the Connecticut state attorney’s office shortly after graduating from University of Connecticut Law School in 1975.
Truth or Dare
May 20, 2009
BARACK OBAMA is trying to split the difference on torture. He wants to move forward—no messy dwelling on the Bush-Cheney era—except that he’ll look backward if forced. There will be no independent commission to hold top-ranking officials politically accountable. But, if Attorney General Eric Holder wants to prosecute the Bush lawyers who defended the legality of waterboarding—John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury—well, the president won’t stand in the way. What does Obama gain by this approach?
Free Ted Stevens!
April 01, 2009
Eric Holder just did. From NPR, which broke the news that the Justice Department is seeking to void the corruption conviction against the former Alaska Senator: With more ugly hearings expected, Holder is said to have decided late Tuesday to pull the plug. His decision is said to be based on Stevens' age — he's 85 — and the fact that Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.
Thernstrom On Holder's "conversation"
February 27, 2009
Some of you already know how much I admire Abigail Thernstrom's work...and the work she has done with her husband Steve, both old friends of mine from the New Marxist Study Group (or something like that) at Harvard in the early sixties. She has now written a characteristically withering piece about Eric Holder's all-too famous speech to his associates at the Justice Department. As I indicated earlier, I was surprised by the callowness of his talk. I expect more analysis from him and less sloppy rhetoric from him. But, as usual, Abby has the facts, and the facts are indisputable.
Defining 'Nation of Cowards' Down
February 19, 2009
So what does our new Attorney General Eric Holder mean when he says that we are "a nation of cowards" for avoiding "frank conversations" about race? The meanings we intend often correspond only fitfully to dictionary definitions. If someone asks “Do you have the time?” technically it would be answering the question to just say “Yes” and walk on.
Earth To Eric Holder
February 19, 2009
I like Eric Holder. And, no, despite what Peter Wehner wrote in today's Contentions, Holder is not responsible for the pardon given Marc Rich in the late dusk of the Clinton administration. This was Bill Clinton's smarmy move, and his alone.But I, too, am mystified by Holder's remarks, reported by the Associated Press and CNN today, basically denying the progress that Americans have made in their relentless and ongoing march to racial equality.
December 24, 2008
What does it take to get tagged as a shameless status-seeker in a town fueled by the eternal quest for access to power? Ask Beth Dozoretz, the former Democratic National Committee finance chair with a legendary affinity for snuggling up to the rich and powerful. (She asked pal Bill Clinton to be godfather to her now-ten-year-old daughter, Melanne.) It seems that, in the waning days of the presidential race, Dozoretz found herself at a dinner party with Michelle Obama. Not one to miss an opportunity, Dozoretz slipped Mrs.