Nation's top cop helps swear in a friend
It's not every day that the top law enforcement officer in the United States personally attends the swearing-in ceremony for one of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys.
Not until Eric H. Holder Jr. became attorney general, that is. On Friday afternoon, Holder joined a standing-room-only crowd in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to speak at the formal swearing-in of Neil H. MacBride, the new U.S. attorney for Northern Virginia.
With all of the court’s judges behind the bench and a parade of legal luminaries in attendance, Holder described MacBride as a friend and said he will make “a superb U.S. attorney.’’
“This is a great day for the eastern district of Virginia, the United States Department of Justice and for our nation as well,’’ said Holder, who hired MacBride in 1997 as a federal prosecutor in the District. MacBride is a former Justice Department official and top aide to Vice President Biden.
Until recently, it was rare for an attorney general to venture out of Washington when a U.S. attorney takes office. But Holder has attended swearing-in ceremonies in Minnesota, Alabama and Manhattan. Justice Department officials said the attorney general, a former U.S. attorney in the District, enjoys getting out “in the field” to meet prosecutors.
MacBride began work in September in the U.S. attorney job, which is among the nation’s most prominent and also includes offices in Richmond, Norfolk and Newport News. His installation ceremony was attended by five former Alexandria U.S. attorneys, including Paul J. McNulty, who went on to become deputy attorney general. Also in attendance was former deputy attorney general James B. Comey, who worked as a federal prosecutor in Richmond.
MacBride told the crowd, which spilled out into the hallway, that being a prosecutor is “a high calling to public service, to pursue justice, not simply represent a client.’’ He said his top priority will be terrorism and national security cases and that he will also focus on gangs, drugs and financial fraud.
-- Jerry Markon
Washington Post editors
November 20, 2009; 4:37 PM ET
Categories: Alexandria , From the Courthouse , Jerry Markon , Virginia
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