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New Book Exposes Attorney General Holder's Abuses of Power

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Should perpetuating racial grievance be the defining mission of the American Attorney General? Eric Holder, who has held the office for the past five and a half years, really believes that it is – and acts accordingly. A new book, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department (Broadside), presents a strong case for removing Holder from office as a corrective to his many abuses of power related to racial and other issues. In 256 pages, authors John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky pull no punches in revealing how Holder and other department officials routinely have subordinated rule of law to radical politics, all the while stonewalling Congress and internal dissenters. They also, properly, point a finger at Holder’s boss, President Obama.

There is an old saying in the world of bureaucracy: “Personnel is policy.” This is certainly true of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a $27 billion cabinet-level agency with about 114,000 employees. Arguably more than any other federal official, the attorney general (AG) carries out the president’s agenda. Fund, a widely-read columnist who wrote for many years for the Wall Street Journal, and Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow who served under George W. Bush as a counsel to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and as a member of the Federal Election Commission, convey as much. The AG establishes an administration’s enforcement priorities and watches the president’s political backside. Though a political appointee, he must be thoroughly impartial. The authors explain (p. 19):

Why does it matter who runs the U.S. Justice Department? Because that person heads one of the most powerful executive branch agencies in the federal government – one that has enormous discretionary power to pursue people accused of breaking law and to exert major influence over social, economic, and national security policies by the choices its leader makes in enforcement. It requires someone who understands that while the attorney general is a political appointee, he (or she) has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law in an objective, nonpolitical manner.

In other words, to truly understand how President Obama means to transform this country – his mission is far from accomplished – it is necessary to know who Eric Holder is.

Eric Holder and Barack Obama first met at a small Washington, D.C. dinner party in November 2004 celebrating Obama’s recent election as a U.S. senator from Illinois. In short order, they recognized a kindred spirit. Holder, born and raised in New York City, was a natural for attorney general in the event Obama became president. Both attended Columbia University as undergraduates; Holder earned his law degree there as well. And both were possessed of high political ambition. Obama had to be impressed with the fact that Holder was a key official in President Clinton’s Justice Department – in the first term as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and in the second term as deputy attorney general, second only to Attorney General Janet Reno. As deputy attorney general, with Reno battling Parkinson’s disease, Holder arguably was the most powerful person at the Justice Department. And he wasn’t hesitant to use his power. According to department insiders, he heavily influenced Reno’s decision to call off a probe of likely illegal contributions to Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign by a network of shady characters with close ties to the mainland Chinese government. Moreover, he helped persuade President Clinton to issue a last-day-in-office pardon to fugitive financier Marc Rich, living in Switzerland since his 1983 indictment for tax evasion and sale of oil to Iran during the embassy hostage crisis.

Holder had something else in common with Obama: a conviction that blacks in America were second-class citizens and needed compensation at the expense of whites. Like Obama, Holder, though light-skinned, was a black who far more with the black side of ancestry than the white side. And like Obama, Holder was, at least in part, a second-generation American. His father grew up in Barbados and his maternal grandparents also were natives of that Caribbean nation. Holder’s sense of grievance toward whites was stoked by his black wife, Sharon Malone. Malone, a Washington-area physician, has proven a highly edgy activist in pressing grievances against white “racism.” The pursuit of racial payback against whites and white-owned institutions isn’t just a trait of the Obama-era Justice Department; it is arguably the defining trait. It is central to understanding everything about the Obama-era department, from its hiring practices to its misuse of Voting Rights Act statutes to bully southern states into racial gerrymandering as part of the congressional redistricting process.

During the George W. Bush years, Holder was a star litigator at the Washington, D.C. legal shop of Covington & Burling. With Barack Obama’s election as president in 2008, he shot to the top of the attorney general short list. He would be nominated and win easy approval by the Democratic-majority Senate. As could have been predicted, Holder’s tenure in office has been the antithesis of objective, nonpolitical investigation and enforcement. Granted, he is not the first attorney general who has used law selectively to reward friends and punish enemies. The authors cite Nixon-era Attorney General John Mitchell as a flagrant example. But what separates Eric Holder from his predecessors, including Mitchell, is his rendering politicization as the norm. It is almost a newsworthy event when he or one of his top aides actually enforces the law even-handedly. Moreover, his partisanship is deeply opposed to liberty as a historical principle of this nation. For him, individual rights are secondary in importance to equality of social outcomes, especially when race enters the picture. Holder has no moral or constitutional problem in favoring one class of citizens over another. On a practical level, he believes blacks should enjoy more rights than whites. His rationale is all too familiar: Until blacks reach the same social status as whites, breaking or at least bending the law is necessary. To treat people as equal under law, as he sees it, is wrong if it yields unequal social outcomes. This is the moral ammunition justifying the doctrine of “disparate impact.” In this negation of rule of law, noble ends justify illegal means.

Holder repeatedly has made clear his loyalties. And those loyalties are not to the American people as a whole. In the name of affirmative action – rechristened in recent years as “diversity” and “inclusion” – he sees blacks as deserving favored treatment in all aspects of American life, from employment to college admissions to criminal punishment. The authors refer to a comment Holder made in 2012 at a Columbia University forum: “Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices. The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin…When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?” A more transparent expression of support for an ongoing race-based reparations program hardly can be imagined. This is more than a personal view. It’s a core assumption upon which the Obama Justice Department operates. Holder, his first civil rights enforcer, Thomas Perez (who became labor secretary a year ago), and an armada of like-minded staff attorneys heavily recruited from far Left nonprofit advocacy groups, regularly apply or ignore law based on whether it helps or hinders favored classes of citizens.

Holder gave a taste of things to come in 2009, when he refused to prosecute certain members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) revealed on videotape, in semi-military garb, to be intimidating white voters from entering a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day 2008. The NBPP claimed the members were there to provide “security.” It was an odd definition by any standard. According to one eyewitness, a Black Panther named King Samir Shabazz carried a billy club and pointed it at white voters as he and another Panther shouted epithets such as “White devil!” and “You’re about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!” The foundation for a prosecution had been laid on January 6, 2009 during the waning days of the Bush administration. Federal prosecutors filed a civil suit against the NBPP and three leading members, Malik Zulu Shabazz, King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson. Yet that May, despite damning footage and pending testimony, Attorney General Holder greatly narrowed charges against King Shabazz and dropped them entirely against Jackson and NBPP. Throughout the case, Holder and his allies proved uncooperative to all inquiries into why the suit was dropped. Holder forced out Christopher Coates, head of the Justice Department’s Voting Section, for having the temerity to provide material facts about the Black Panthers case. J. Christian Adams, the Civil Rights Division attorney-turned-public whistleblower who had brought forth the original suit, stated in testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: “I was told by Voting Section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on [behalf] of white victims.”

Holder has continued to show an affinity for the NBPP, which remains well and alive. In 2012 the Black Panthers offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of a white neighborhood crime watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, dead or alive, for the “murder”

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