Holder Leaves Behind a Civil Rights Legacy in the DOJ

Real Talk Saturday

Attorney General Eric Holder resigns.

Attorney General Eric Holder resigns.

Eric Holder announced this week that he is resigning as the US Attorney General. Holder was one of three remaining cabinet members in the Obama Administration, leading the Department of Justice for the past six years. While Holder had been thinking about leaving the cabinet for the last few years, he has stayed at the request of President Obama, a good friend of his.

Holder’s term as Attorney General had been a rocky one. His first couple of years in office drew criticism from the Republican Congress. The Department of Justice, under Eric Holder, came under fire after the scandal dubbed “Fast and Furious”. The DOJ released weapons to members of various gangs involved in the Mexican drug trade in order to trace the movement of those guns. They eventually lost track of many of those weapons and this created a firestorm amongst many. The Republicans, blamed Holder and unfairly mistreated him in public hearings on Capitol Hill, even holding him in contempt of Congress.

Despite this and many more bumps in the road, Holder will be ending his career in the Department of Justice on a high. As Attorney General, Holder has successfully taken on many Civil Rights issues. Many say that even though Holder wanted to leave his post earlier, like other cabinet members before him, it was good that he left later as he was able to create a greater legacy in those last few years.

Now, the Real Talk…

Eric Holder has a lot of accomplishments that he should be proud of as Attorney General and before. However, it is sad to think about the level of disrespect that he has received as the first Black Attorney General under the first Black President of the United States, Barack Obama.

California Representative Darryl Issa was probably the most publicly disrespectful towards the Attorney General. After the

Holder testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Holder testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

announcement of Holder’s resignation, Issa called Holder the most divisive attorney general in history. Really? Let’s talk about how divisive and disrespectful Issa has been to Holder, leading up to his leadership of the contempt vote, holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress. This was the most disrespectful and publicly humiliating things that has been done to an official, that would not be done if the Attorney General was white. Let’s also talk about how Rep. Issa is consistently disrespectful and to the democratic leader of the House Oversight Committee, Representative Elijah Cummings. Issa has also drawn out hearings over Benghazi, IRS, and the Affordable Care Act. Issa cannot call Eric Holder a divisive figure without looking in the mirror.

But when you think of Eric Holder, you should think about a successful career addressing today’s civil rights issues. First, you should think about his excellent work on voting rights. Holder has gone as far as suing several states regarding their controversial voter registration laws. These Republican-led legislatures used these laws to limit the voting rights of people of color. I am grateful of AG Holder’s use of the resources in the Department of Justice to combat these injustices.

Eric Holder meeting Capt. Ron Johnson in Ferguson, MO.

Eric Holder meeting Capt. Ron Johnson in Ferguson, MO.

Second, you should think about Holder’s policies on the implementation of drug laws. Understanding the criminal justice system unfairly targets Black and Brown men for petty drug charges, Holder decided that it wasn’t worth utilizing federal resources to pack the prisons over small amounts of marijuana and other such drugs. This took place even before the states of Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in their states in 2012.

And when you think of Eric Holder, you should think about his policies on holding police departments around the country accountable for unjust police procedures including racial profiling and police brutality. Holder has gone after police departments around the country and implemented changes that positively affected minority communities. He also helped eased tension in Ferguson, Missouri where we saw the killing of a young Black man, Michael Brown by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. He has also made statements on similar incidents such as the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

The disrespect that Holder received as attorney general will hopefully be outshined by the Civil Rights legacy that he left behind. Eric Holder was one of the best attorneys general we have had and he has had a huge impact on very important issues that often go unnoticed.

Related Articles

NBC News – Eric Holder: ‘It’s the Right Time For Me to Go’

CNN – Eric Holder: My work on voting rights most important

Politico – Eric Holder Was Great on Drugs

LA Times – Justice Department to ban profiling by federal law enforcement

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Categories: Politics, Real Talk SATURDAY, US News

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