President-Elect Barack Obama announced on December 1 that he has nominated Eric H. Holder, Jr. to serve as Attorney General, to take over the running of The Department of Justice in Obama's incoming administration from current AG Michael Mukasey.
Mr. Holder has been a partner with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP since 2001.
Mr. Mukasey since his appointment as Attorney General, like all representatives of Mr. Bush have done, has waffled, spun, twisted in the wind, squirmed, sweated, excused, equivocated, and otherwise bullshitted America and the world as George Bush's acolyte under hot lights and pointed interrogations from Congress over evidence of torture ordered at the highest levels of the Bush administration, the president and vice president, that the least informed people in the world all know is well defined, immoral, and illegal under international law, US law, and international treaties. (see addendum)
A war crime, in simpler terms. A war crime that Vice President Cheney has in recent days confessed publicly that the Bush administration intentionally engaged in.
Mr. Holder is the target of the new Docudharma/Democrats.com sponsored Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes. Don't forget to sign the petition if you haven't already.
Who is Eric Holder? What are his views and philosophy on the questions of torture, war crimes, secret prisons hidden away from the rule of law, and Bush's "war on terror"?
What can we expect his reactions to be to the petition? We have only his own words and background to look to for clues.
The Covington & Burling LLP Bio of Mr. Holder states that:
Mr. Holder is a litigation partner who handles, among other matters, complex civil and criminal cases, domestic and international advisory matters and internal corporate investigations.
During his professional career, Mr. Holder has held a number of significant positions in government. Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, he moved to Washington, DC and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 and was tasked to investigate and prosecute official corruption on the local, state and federal levels.
In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the United States Department of Justice. He became the first African-American to serve as Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Holder briefly served under President Bush as Acting Attorney General pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft.
As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Holder supervised all of the Department's litigating, enforcement, and administrative components in both civil and criminal matters
Sharon, aka Conchita, has two or three times in the past day or so posted a link in comments at DD to video of Mr. Holder speaking on Friday June 13th this year to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, but that link is to an unembeddable windows media player video stream that takes forever in online time to load.
The speech, and Mr. Holder's tone, comportment, and obvious high intelligence displayed in it, are very confidence inspiring, unlike Mr. Mukasey's dissembling. I did a little digging around for an embeddable version so everyone could see and hear what Holder had to say on the same questions that make Mr. Mukasey's eyes dart around in a frantic search for safe ground while he sweats and squirms and squeals like a stuck pig writhing on the end of a sharp stick.
Mr. Holder serves on the American Constitution Society's Board of Directors.
A release from The ACS (via Mark Halperin's The Page at Time.com) says that:
Washington, D.C. -- Eric H. Holder Jr., Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration, asserted in a speech to the American Constitution Society (ACS) that the United States must reverse "the disastrous course" set by the Bush administration in the struggle against terrorism by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, declaring without qualification that the U.S. does not torture people, ending the practice of transferring individuals involuntarily to countries that engage in torture and ceasing warrantless domestic surveillance.
"Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror' have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more, safe," Holder told a packed room at the ACS 2008 Convention on Friday evening. "For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America's standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights."
Here is Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder Jr. speaking on the Rule of Law at the 2008 ACS National Convention and on the responsibility of Americans to preserve and protect our Constitution and reaffirm the principle of rule of law to its rightful, central place in society.
Eric Holder, American Constitution Society June 13, 2008 Speech
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International and U.S. law prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of any person in custody in all circumstances. The prohibition applies to the United States during times of peace, armed conflict, or a state of emergency. Any person, whether a U.S. national or a non-citizen, is protected. It is irrelevant whether the detainee is determined to be a prisoner-of-war, a protected person, or a so-called "security detainee" or "unlawful combatant." And the prohibition is in effect within the territory of the United States or any place anywhere U.S. authorities have control over a person. In short, the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment is absolute.
A federal anti-torture statute (18 U.S.C. § 2340A), enacted in 1994, provides for the prosecution of a U.S. national or anyone present in the United States who, while outside the U.S., commits or attempts to commit torture.
Torture is defined as an "act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." A person found guilty under the act can be incarcerated for up to 20 years or receive the death penalty if the torture results in the victim's death.