A shocking admission — and job description — from the attorney general that sent a chill down my spine when I first read it.
Holder was interviewed by Juan Williams for The Hill and had this to say about how he views himself and his job:
Holder remains indifferent to conservative protests that he is an ‘activist’ looking for trouble by digging into what he calls “policies [with] disproportionate impact on communities of color.”
“If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,” he said. “Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job. The responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.”
Later, he defiantly added that critics who say his department includes an “activist civil rights division and this is an activist attorney general — I’d say I agree with you 1000 percent and [I am] proud of it.”
Holder famously stirred white conservative anger when he said America is a “nation of cowards,” for its reluctance to engage in serious conversations about racial disparities. In a recent speech at historically black Morgan State University, he reiterated that position.
Disparate racial outcomes “are not only shameful and unacceptable – they impede our ability to see that justice is done,” Holder said. “And they perpetuate cycles of poverty, crime and incarceration that trap individuals, destroy communities and decimate minority neighborhoods.”
Holder’s bitter divide with conservatives about racial issues has its roots in the city in which we conducted our interview. In the 2008 election, the presence of two members of the New Black Panther Party at a polling station in Philadelphia led Republican prosecutors to bring charges of voter intimidation.
House Republicans claimed Holder’s Justice Department treated the case lightly and used a double standard, going easy on blacks when whites charged with the same crime would have faced harsh prosecution.
This is wrong on so many levels as to be beyond belief. The job of an attorney general is not to be an activist, but to be the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. Putting an activist in that job is like throwing a match into a gasoline dump. The possibility of abuses of power is astounding and this is exactly what we’ve seen in Holder’s Justice Department over the years.
Further, it is not the “responsibility of the attorney general… to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.” Being ignorant of one’s constitutional responsibilities is one thing. Making up an alternate job description is quite another. The AG does not pass legislation, nor does he decide what is constitutional and what isn’t. Holder is confusing himself with both Congress and the Supreme Court.
Finally, basing public policy on “outcomes” of any kind — disparate or not — violates the spirit of the Constitution and sound public policy. Racism there still is in America — few would deny that. But to base policy decisions on outcomes that may be due to factors other than racisim — cultural differences, geographical issues — is wrongheaded and imprudent.
Holder’s words remind us: Be afraid. Be very afraid.