Thursday, November 20, 2008

pardon the pardon

Eric Holder had a good reputation as Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton. He looks like a solid choice (if he is in fact Obama's pick) to head up the Department of Justice.

And Republicans - and even the Washington Post editorial board - seem to want to make a big deal out of Holder's role in Bill Clinton's infamous pardon of Marc Rich. Senator Chuck Grassley said in a statement that Holder's selection is "going to be much more controversial than a new administration ought to try to put forth." The Post editors write that "Mr. Holder must be questioned again about his failure to block that unconscionable pardon."

Look, Holder himself has admitted that failing to oppose it was a mistake. But the fault wasn't his. It was Bill Clinton's. The Rich pardon was unforgivable. It reeked.

But ultimately, it was legal. The President has that power granted in the Constitution. And Rich went straight to the White House to seek it.

I'd rather see Grassley and the Post editors look into actions of our recent attorney generals, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, to look into their roles in whitewashing torture and their roles in converting the Department of Justice into an arm of the Republican National Committee by firing prosecutors who don't show sufficient zeal in prosecuting Democrats like Don Sigelman for the crime of threatening Republican politicians with electoral defeat.

Sheesh.

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