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The Right Enemies: A Look Back at Right-Wing Attacks on Eric Holder

Holder resignation

BY LAYNE AMERIKANER

Attorney General Eric Holder, who this week announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.

Tim HuelskampIn February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp [pictured right] echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”

Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”

And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.

The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

AG Eric Holder Expects Justice Department to File SCOTUS Brief Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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In an interview last night with NBC News' Pete Williams, Attorney General Eric Holder was asked whether the Justice Department will file a brief in the gay marriage cases currently before the Supreme Court. 

On Monday, SCOTUS is set to consider whether to take up marriage equality cases from five states - Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. 

Said Holder:

I expect that the Justice Department will file a brief and the brief will be consistent with the positions that we have taken in the past in support of same-sex marriage. I can't imagine that that would be -- that we would take any other position in -- while this president is in office, and certainly as long as I am attorney general, or anybody who is my successor.

When Williams followed up with a question asking whether the country was ready for gay marriage, Holder responded in the affirmative. 

Yeah, I think the country is ready for that. I think all the polls certainly show that. The reactions to the continuing number of court cases that have found same-sex marriage to be constitutionally mandated -- the polls have shown that the American people, I think, are prepared to accept that. Now this has been a sea change. This is something that has happened, I think, relatively quickly. Part of it is generational. I talk to my kids, who seem, no problems with this, no issues with this at all. But I think it's more than a generational change. I think that people who know folks who are gay, who are lesbian, and who are their friends, their coworkers, they see the moral side to this. Um, it's a civil-rights issue. From my perspective, it is the civil-rights issue of our day -- gay and lesbian equality.

Check out the full interview - in which Holder also discusses his early life and career, his relationship with President Obama, the work he's done on voting rights, Robert Kennedy, the housing crisis, ISIS and more - AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "AG Eric Holder Expects Justice Department to File SCOTUS Brief Supporting Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns; Groups Push for LGBT Nominee — VIDEO

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President Obama today announced the resignation, reported earlier, of Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obama lauded Holder for his work in the Justice Department and as Attorney General, "from counterterrorism to civil rights, public corruption to white-collar crime."

Also noted were Holder's efforts to strengthen hate crimes law and his recommendation that the federal government stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, opening the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and federal benefits for same-sex couples.

Holder also mentioned that work, among many other issues:

We have begun to realize the promise of equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters and their families.  We have begun to significantly reform our criminal justice system and reconnect those who bravely serve in law enforcement with the communities that they protect.

Watch the announcement and read a transcript of the remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

DurkanIn related news, the Human Rights Campaign today urged Obama to replace Holder with the first LGBT cabinet member:

"President Obama faces a historic opportunity in light of Attorney General Holder's departure,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “The President has expressed a commitment to appointing a cabinet that reflects the full diversity of the American people, and there are many richly-qualified candidates available to serve as the first openly-LGBT cabinet secretary. It would be a natural extension of this administration's enduring commitment to equality to send a message of visibility and inclusion by nominating such a candidate to serve in this historic role."

One potential nominee is U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, Buzzfeed reports:

“It will be a huge milestone if the president chooses a qualified LGBT American like Jenny Durkan,” Torey Carter, managing director of the Victory Fund, told BuzzFeed News. “It would send a signal that experience and ability matter a lot more than gender or sexual orientation, and that would matter a lot to young people who worry they can’t be authentically themselves and still succeed in life.”

Continue reading "Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns; Groups Push for LGBT Nominee — VIDEO" »


Eric Holder to Step Down As Attorney General

Attorney General Eric Holder is prepped to announce his resignation today, NPR reports:

HolderTwo sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly "adamant" about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama's second term. [...]

Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.

NPR's source adds that Solicitor General Don Verrilli, the administration's top representative to the Supreme Court who argued before SCOTUS against Prop 8 last year, is a leading candidate for replacement. 


Eric Holder: DOJ Will File Brief in Support of Gay Marriage Should SCOTUS Take Up a Case — VIDEO

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In an interview yesterday with ABC News' This Week, Attorney General Eric Holder said that should the Supreme Court take up a case challenging a state ban on gay marriage that the Department of Justice would file a brief in support of marriage equality, citing the Windsor case.

Said Holder: "I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eric Holder: DOJ Will File Brief in Support of Gay Marriage Should SCOTUS Take Up a Case — VIDEO" »


Monday Speed Read: Family Leave, Social Security, VA Benefits, Mike Michaud, Trans Connections

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LaborOPM PROPOSES RULE CHANGE:

In conjunction with a proposed rule change regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act announced by the U.S. Department of Labor last week, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is publishing a proposed regulation change in today’s Federal Register to ensure that federal employees with same-sex spouses can take leave to care for that spouse. The proposal calls for changing the definition of “spouse” to include a husband or wife in a same-sex marriage that was licensed by at a state or, if licensed outside the country, “was valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one State.”

SOCIAL SECURITY SNAG: Holder

In its memorandum to the president June 20, the Department of Justice indicated that the Social Security Administration would treat same-sex spouse applicants for Social Security Income as married “if they live in states that recognize same-sex marriages.” The National Center for Lesbian Rights said that, while the overall DOJ memo shows that DOJ and the Obama administration have moved “aggressively and diligently” to provide equal treatment to same-sex married couples in the past year, the Social Security restriction “underscores how far we have yet to go to achieve true equality.”

VETS ADMINISTRATION, TOO:

The U.S. Veterans Administration announced its post-Windsor guidelines Friday, too, noting that the “Special provisions relating to marriage” under the U.S. Code governing Veterans’ Benefits “requires the Department to look to the place of residency rather than the place of celebration to determine whether a Veteran's marriage is recognized for the purposes of VA benefits.” The VA press release added, “VA is committed to treating all Veterans and their spouses as equally as possible under the law.”

MICHAUD GRAND MARSHALL IN PORTLAND: Michaud

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) served as one of the grand marshals for Portland’s largest ever Pride parade Saturday. According to the Portland-Press Herald, Michaud walked the parade route shaking hands, while independent Eliot Cutler, his chief rival to unseat incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage, walked the route carrying a rainbow flag. The Press Herald said Governor LePage, a Tea Party conservative, was invited to participate but a spokesperson said he was unable to fit the event into his schedule.

DIDN’T KNOW HE HAD A NANNY:

When he lived in Indonesia with his mother and her second husband, President Obama had a nanny who was transgender, according to Associated Press, though “she did not dress as a woman around her young charge.” Obama was between the ages of six and ten at the time. And President George W. Bush, says AP, had a transgender classmate to the White House for a Yale reunion.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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