|The End of Eric Holder|
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, April 06 2011
Liberals in the media are busy commiserating with Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to reverse himself on prosecuting 9/11 terrorists in federal civilian courts. To the chattering classes, Holder’s failed promises to civilize terrorists and close down the Guantanamo Bay prison show his pragmatism. To the rest of America, it proves his fitness to be fired.
The Washington Post says Holder is “making the best of a less than perfect situation.” The New York Times mourns that “Mr. Holder’s dream…crumbled.” If only Congress and the American people could have been more enlightened, more enamored of showing strength through weakness, the nice guys could have won.
(Or rather would have won as Holder infamously guaranteed when asked whether terrorists might prevail under civilian court rules.)
In the media’s telling, the vociferous opposition to American trials for international terrorists by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY) and congressional majorities under the leadership of both parties is just the latest stain on America’s darkened soul.
What liberals wanted was public-be-damned “statesmanship” of the kind practiced by deposed speaker Nancy “deem-and-pass” Pelosi (D-CA). What liberals got was a tone-deaf ideologue posing as a frustrated newbie in-over-his-head.
It’s hard to forget the self-serving sanctimony Holder and President Barack Obama lavished on themselves when they came into office. During the January 22, 2009, signing ceremony of an executive order attempting to shutter the military’s Guantanamo Bay prison, Obama declared that “Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
Refusals from other countries to accept Guantanamo Bay detainees – coupled with congressional prohibitions on relocating them inside the United States – kept that liberal fantasy a pipe dream.
For his part, Holder committed America’s most prestigious prosecutors to the ACLU’s worldview. By rejecting the Military Commissions Act and relying instead on federal codes of evidence and procedure, Holder wanted avowed terrorists to receive constitutional protections from a country they live to destroy.
In the Vietnam era, that kind of argument was formulated as “bombing a village in order to save it.”
Looking back on Holder’s time at Justice, one fails to find a reason why he or Obama should want four more years together. Unlike Obama, Holder is a liberal’s liberal; the kind of Ivy League, white-shoe lawyer who splits time between making big money defending corporations and supporting lawsuits that hamstring national security.
Before being appointed Attorney General, Holder was a signatory to lawsuits challenging every aspect of former President George W. Bush’s War on Terror. Though unstated by Holder – and underreported by the media – the current head of the Justice Department worked with other prominent liberals like Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal to slow down the process of terrorist prosecutions.
Challenging everything from jurisdiction to variations on hearsay exceptions, Holder and his colleagues waged a legal war against United States national security. Most damaging among their pseudo-grievances was the claim of right to access all incriminating evidence against their terrorist clients. This forced military prosecutors to spend precious time arguing that top secret intelligence cannot be shared with a person known to associate with a terrorist organization.
That argument fell on deaf ears. For Holder, prosecuting 9/11 terrorists in civilian court is about manufacturing a legacy for himself. In an interview with the New Yorker last year Holder admitted as much when he said a New York-based trial would be “the defining event of my time as attorney general.”
Much like Obama and nationalized healthcare, Holder and the terrorist trials turned into so much less than doing well for other people. Rather, it became an exercise in self-aggrandizement, a way to justify a manifestly unpopular – and unnecessary – policy position.
With his “defining event” now scribbled into the history books, it’s time Eric Holder got back to what he does best: suing the government and making millions.
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