Eric Holder Hub

Watch Eric Holder's Keynote Speech Before the LGBT Bar Association: VIDEO


Last night I wrote about how Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address at the LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference.

It was there that Holder, by far the most pro-equality attorney general in American history, told the gathered lawyers that they have a "solemn responsibility" to fight discrimination.

Well now you can watch C-SPAN video of that speech AFTER THE JUMP.

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Eric Holder To LGBT Lawyers: You Have 'Solemn Responsibility' To 'Safeguard' Rights

EricHolderLGBTEric Holder delivered a keynote speech to kick off the LGBT Bar Association’s annual Lavender Law Conference this evening.

The Attorney General celebrated the Obama administration's pro-equality successes, including often-overlooked accomplishments like the Justice Department Civil Rights Division's work with local law enforcement on LGBT discrimination and filing the first indictment under a federal hate crimes law, but he also reminded the lawyers that much work needs to be done, and challenged them to use the current "momentum" to win equal rights.

"I’m also here to ask for your continued help, to draw on your considerable passion and expertise, and to reiterate the Department’s commitment – and my own – to building on the momentum we’ve established, and ensuring that the recent successes we’ve seen are just the beginning," Holder said, according to the Washington Blade. "As current – and aspiring – leaders of the bench and bar, everyone here tonight understands what’s at stake. You realize how important every hard-fought legal victory – large and small – really is."

With their positions and appreciation of the law, said Holder, the men and women gathered have a "solemn responsibility" to fight for equality:

You are – or soon will be – uniquely situated to use the power of the law, as well as your own gifts and knowledge, to help build a more fair, more equal, and more just society. And you have not only the power, but – I believe – the solemn responsibility, to do precisely that: to safeguard the rights and freedoms of everyone in this country, and to carry on the critical but unfinished work that lies ahead.

Of course, this never has been – and never will be – easy.  But as I look around this room, I can’t help but feel optimistic about where your efforts will lead us – and how far our collective commitment will take us – in the months and years ahead.  With the benefit of your partnership and the strength of your passion, I know that we can – and I’m confident that we will – continue the work that has become both our shared priority and common cause.  And I look forward to all that we will surely accomplish together.

House Holds Eric Holder In Contempt For Fast And Furious Files

EricHolderFastAttorney General Eric Holder made history today, and unlike his vow not to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, this accomplisment is not worth celebrating.

For the first time ever, the House of Representative voted 255-67 to a sitting Justice Department head in criminal contempt. In Holder's case, it's for his refusal to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal that was sparked by the death of a border agent named Brian Terry. According to CNN, nearly all of the House Republicans voted "yea" and were joined by 17 Democrats.

Holder doesn't seem too stressed about the being held in contempt. He described the vote as "the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided — and politically motivated — investigation during an election year."

"By advancing [this case] over the past year and a half, Congressman (Darrell) Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety," said Holder.

"Instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations, and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement officers, like Agent Brian Terry, who keep us safe — they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome."

DOJ Files Expansive Brief Supporting Lesbian's Health Benefit Lawsuit

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e343fbe4970b-250wi The Department of Justice appears to be stepping up its work against the Defense of Marriage Act.

After months of taking vague stands against the 15-year old law's unconstitutionality, the DOJ offered a more robust and forceful objection in a brief filed yesterday supporting federal court employee Karen Golinski's lawsuit asking for equal health benefits for her wife.

Golinski's case had previously been dismissed, although a judge left the door open for more arguments on the matter.

The DOJ filing is significant for two reasons: one, the Obama administration previously opposed her lawsuit; and, two, it goes further than any other brief in explaining how the federal government has consistently discriminated against LGBT citizens.

This could change everything.

Read more, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Washington Post Calls for Moratorium on Deportations of Gay Foreign Nationals in Legal Same-Sex Marriages

The Washington Post editorial board called on Eric Holder to stop the deportations affecting married binational same-sex couples under unfair immigration laws:

Henry_josh DOMA has been an impediment to the rights of gay men and lesbians since its inception in 1996. It withholds from same-sex couples the legal protections, obligations and privileges enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. Repeal appears out of reach, but Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in February that the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA in court, after concluding that it is 

The attorney general has vacated the court decision and asked the Board of Immigration Appeals whether Mr. Dorman’s civil union makes him a “spouse” under New Jersey law and whether, absent DOMA, he would be considered a “spouse” under immigration law. Mr. Holder should erase any confusion by declaring a moratorium on removal of foreign nationals in state-recognized same-sex unions until federal courts determine DOMA’s constitutionality. He should ensure that the government is not focusing on breaking up otherwise law-abiding families.

Don’t penalize undocumented gay immigrants in civil unions with U.S. citizens [washington post]

(via lavi soloway)

Holder Clarifies LGBT Immigration Decisions, Says Administration Will Continue Enforcing DOMA

Last week there was a flurry of LGBT immigration news as Attorney General Holder vacated a ruling which postponed the deportation of an Irish man, Wilson Dorman, over questions surrounding the administration's rejection of Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional.

Holder Holder's office on Saturday clarified his positions:

Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Mr. Holder, said he had interceded in Mr. Dorman’s case only because he wanted the immigration appeals court to decide issues he felt had been overlooked. “As we have made clear, we will continue to enforce DOMA,” Ms. Schmaler said.

In February, Mr. Holder announced that the administration viewed the marriage act as unconstitutional and would not defend it in the courts, although the administration would continue to enforce the law.

Gay rights advocates have asked the administration to postpone all deportations for same-sex married couples until the courts decide whether the marriage act is constitutional.

On Friday, a judge cited Holder's decision in the Dorman case as part of a ruling postponing the deportation of Henry Velandia.

In related news, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) last week introduced the Reuniting Families Act "which has a provision that would protect bi-national same-sex couples as one of its six prongs to keep families together in the country," according to the Washington Blade:

During a conference call Thursday, Honda touted his legislation as a means to make U.S. immigration policy more fair for gay Americans and their foreign partners.

“RFA also ends discrimination in our immigration system by allowing same-sex permanent partners to sponsor their foreign national partners for immigration benefits,” Honda said.

The provision allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States is identical to other legislation known as the Uniting American Families Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in the House and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the Senate.



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