Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eric Holder

GQ this month offers a revealing and ultimately quite sad profile of Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, by Wil S. Hylton: "Hope. Change. Reality." Holder comes across as a single-issue principled person: the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division matters a lot to him, and one gets the impression he would be unwilling to compromise on civil rights principles; everything else, however, and especially national security, is apparently subject to political considerations.

Hylton points out, for example, that Holder has decided (or agreed) 1) not to prosecute those responsible for torture he earlier characterized as "inherently un-American", 2) to absolve those who authorized that torture (despite an official finding of professional misconduct), 3) not to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court, 4) to ban a number of key Guantanamo journalists from attending Omar Khadr's trial at Guantanamo, and 5) to justify the administration's right to assassinate a U.S. citizen — all for political, not legal, reasons.

A true test of the rule of law is whether authorities uphold it even when it is inconvenient, or its implications undesirable. On that count, both Holder and his boss — who, it bears recalling, taught courses on constitutional law at the University of Chicago — have been measured and found wanting.

No comments:

Post a Comment