The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



For Holder, a Second - and Symbolic - Swearing In

Attorney General Eric Holder takes the oath from D.C. Superior Court Associate Judge Robert Richter during a ceremonial installation as President Obama looks on. (Jim Young/Reuters)

By Carrie Johnson
Rolling out the pomp and circumstance before a crowd stocked with members of the city's legal elite, President Obama this morning welcomed "my friend, Eric Holder," as the 82nd attorney general of the United States.

Holder, a former D.C. Superior Court judge and a top prosecutor in the District, has been on the job as the nation's chief law enforcement officer since early February. But this morning, in front of an audience that included the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, for whom the majestic Justice Department headquarters is named, Holder took a second oath of office. The event was weighted with symbolism about the new administration's approach to national security and civil liberties.

In brief remarks, Obama said that Holder would serve "as the guardian of that revered document," the U.S. Constitution, and that he would keep in mind that enforcing the law is a "fundamentally human process."

"In the end Eric comes to this job with only one agenda: to do what is right under the law," the president said. "Our laws are only as compassionate as the people who enforce them."

"He's thoroughly prepared to tackle the law enforcement challenges of this new century," and protect the nation against terrorist attacks, Obama added.

Underscoring the department's top priority, national security, FBI Special Agent Earl D. Camp led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. Camp was wounded in a March 2008 attack in Pakistan, deputy attorney general David W. Ogden told the audience, and will receive an award from the FBI director for his valor later today.

Holder and Obama developed a close bond after meeting at a Washington dinner party more than four years ago. The new attorney general had served as a co-chairman of the Obama presidential campaign, helped select Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. to be vice president, and routinely appears by the president's side at social events.

"Like me, he married up," Obama told the audience at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, in a nod to Holder's wife, prominent D.C. obstetrician Sharon Malone.

For his part, Holder reached out to many in the crowd, which included 11 judges from the federal courthouse, Republican predecessors at the Justice Department including John Ashcroft, Paul McNulty and George Terwilliger, and scores of veterans from the Clinton administration who greeted him with rousing applause and foot stamping.

Holder used his short speech to attempt to inspire career prosecutors demoralized by politicized hiring scandals during the Bush years. He also indirectly responded to criticism from former vice president Richard Cheney, who twice has claimed that Obama is making the nation less safe by vowing to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and end harsh detainee interrogation methods that critics call torture.

"The true test of our nation's greatness is whether we uphold our principles not when it is easy, but when it is hard," Holder said. "There is no contradiction between our ideals and our commitment to enforce the law....We will be fair and we will be just in all that we do."

Posted at 11:50 AM ET on Mar 27, 2009  | Category:  DEPT. OF JURISPRUDENCE
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Sorry this is way off the subject but maybe it's just me. Doesn't Obama look like a kid playing President? Sorry that may offend you Dems but man I have such a hard time taking him or the people he picks for office seriously. I guess it's imature people he picks and the terrorist he's assosiated with. Hmmmm maybe that's it, anyway like I said maybe it's just me.

Posted by: ryanmaag22 | March 27, 2009 7:42 PM

We are very fortunate to have a man of such high standards as Eric Holder. It is our democratic right to be able to speak out, but let us try to work together for a change for the good of our country.

Posted by: macgkgad | March 27, 2009 5:18 PM

The contrast between Holder and Gonzalez will be comparable to that of a human and a chimp.

BubbaRight seems to want the crook Mr Rich there, why I don't know. I think Mr Rich should be warming a prison cell right next to his friend, Mr Libby.

Posted by: Gator-ron | March 27, 2009 3:30 PM

TO: DOJ Executive Staff

RE: extrajudicial targeting and punishment in America

Please forward text/link to article below to Atty. Gen. Holder and Asst. Atty. Gen. Perez.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 27, 2009 1:48 PM

Maybe Marc Rich should have been there.

Posted by: BubbaRight | March 27, 2009 1:46 PM

TO: Atty. Gen. Holder, Asst. Atty. Gen. Tom Perez (staff, please forward)

"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP candidate Joseph Biden, Aug. 27, 2008, Democratic National Convention


Attorney General Holder (staff, please forward):





And federally-funded programs equip the "community gang stalkers" who are terrorizing their neighbors -- in the process, destroying their livelihoods and degrading their health.

When victims complain, they are told there is "nothing to investigate."

True -- because federal and local authorities KNOW ALL ABOUT IT.

Will the national press corps -- and Team Obama -- wake up and realize that democracy is being stolen at the GRASSROOTS?

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 27, 2009 1:25 PM

If the true 'test of our nation's greatness is whether we uphold our principles when it's hard', then can we expect Holder to:

Declare the KKK a terrorist organization and imprison its members?

Bring Bush and his corrupt administration to justice for torture and crimes against humanity?

Submit to Congress all those odious provisions of the Patriot act that strip Americans of their liberties and civil rights and push for their repeal?

Not seek the death penalty for any crimes?

I think Holder's American may not pass his own test.


Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 27, 2009 1:22 PM

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