Eric Holder could have overruled King and the other presidential appointees. He could have ordered the lawyers to get a stiff remedy against the anti-Semitic New Black Panthers. But he didn’t. Why didn’t he? Did the attorney general agree with the positions being advocated by Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli? Did the White House give instructions? More questions Congress can ask Holder, if he is still around.
If that isn’t enough for reasonable Democrats to throw Holder overboard, consider three words: civilian terrorist trials.
Holder is a national security disaster. His policies make it more likely that Americans will suffer another devastating attack. Holder’s Justice Department has imposed higher evidentiary burdens on itself in terror matters than even the federal courts have required. Holder has also given a central role to State Department nuts like Harold Koh to formulate terror policy deep inside the Justice Department. From reading Miranda rights to battlefield captures in Afghanistan, to short-circuiting the interrogation of the underwear bomber in Detroit, Holder’s policies may be an electoral disaster for Democrats in 2012.
It’s one thing to scale back Bush-era terror policies, but to American voters, it’s quite another to adopt the ideology of the lunatic fringe that Koh represents. Holder has intentionally done the latter.
Congress can ask Holder at his next oversight hearing if Harold Koh will preserve his central role in formulating internal Justice Department national security policy.
Yet another disaster on Holder’s watch was the enforcement of military voting rights in 2010. It became a comedy of incompetence. (PJM has extensively covered the mess, including here and here and here.) Justice bureaucrats responsible for protecting military voting rights failed to enforce the requirement that ballots be mailed out 45 days before the election because they disagreed with the congressional mandate. They believed that 30 days was enough time, and even if it wasn’t, ballots mailed late could simply be tallied after the election. Never mind that Congress explicitly rejected this solution.
The DOJ failed to sue states for weeks or months after non-compliance was discovered. PJM broke news of noncompliance in places the DOJ didn’t even know about. Most outrageous of all, the responsible bureaucrats think the criticism of their incompetence is unfair.
An angry Senator John Cornyn blocked Deputy Attorney General James Cole because of this disaster, and rightfully so.
Congress can ask Holder why no heads have rolled over military voting failures. If nobody is fired by the time Holder next testifies, Congress can seek the names of the officials responsible for the mess and subpoena them to testify. Congress can ask Holder why he didn’t overrule these bureaucrats and order immediate lawsuits when non-compliance was discovered in August, and earlier. Congress can ask why these bureaucrats failed to reply to the Pentagon’s request for assistance to give states guidance to implement the new law. Military voters and their families who lost their right deserve answers.
It will be a nasty experience for the administration if Holder is on the firing line. Wiser Democrats should ensure he isn’t.