Holder Approved by Judiciary Panel
By Carrie Johnson
The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning approved the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. to serve as the nation's first African American attorney general.
Holder, 58, ultimately won support from all of the Democrats on the panel; many cited his credentials and backing by 130 law enforcement groups.
In a surprise, given comments over the past two months, several GOP lawmakers also cast their votes for Holder. Only two Republican senators, John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, voted "nay" on the nomination. Cornyn expressed concern about the nominee's role in controversial Clinton era pardons, Holder's view on terrorism issues and his approach to gun rights.
But other members of the panel -- from Republican Lindsay Graham (S.C.) to Democrat Dick Durbin (Ill.) -- said that Holder had charted a careful balance between protecting the nation's security and endorsing civil liberties.
Holder's nomination could be taken up by the full Senate over the next couple of days, aides said.
Posted at 11:34 AM ET on Jan 28, 2009
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