Posted by Brad @ 6:22 pm on January 21st 2009

Holder Confirmation Hearing Delayed


Because judiciary Republicans are consternated about his rather unequivocal remarks on torture. They hope he doesn’t mean them.

Eric Holder’s confirmation vote before the Judiciary Committee will be delayed for up to a week as Republican senators continue to press him on his views about interrogation and other Bush administration intelligence methods.

The Judiciary Committee was originally scheduled to vote today on Holder’s nomination as attorney general, but Republicans have objected, and under committee rules they can delay the vote for up to a week. Holder was grilled last week by Republicans on his views about interrogations, Guantanamo Bay and his involvement in the 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is seeking more information from Holder on whether the Department of Justice will pursue criminal prosecutions of “intelligence personnel” involved in detainee interrogations.

Holder declared that “waterboarding is torture” during last week’s session in the Judiciary Committee. That statement raises the possibility that the government agents who used the method, which simulates drowning, could be prosecuted.

Holder said that the Obama administration does not want to “crimilinalize policy disputes” with the Bush White House during that hearing, but Republicans want a more firm commitment from the prospective attorney general.

“It could well be there will be a request to delay the markup for a week so those questions can be asked and answered,” Cornyn said. “Part of my concern relates to his statements at the hearing with regard to torture and what his intentions are toward our intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based on their understanding of what the law was.”


  1. The question of whether waterboarding is torture is not a policy dispute. It is a question of definitions and of fact. It has a correct answer and an incorrect answer.

    Obama is not, by nominating Holder, doing anything in the way of criminalizing policy disputes. He is criminalizing criminality. This is not an issue on which the administration ought to yield. Not so much as an inch.

    Use the majority and the political capital. Ram the man through. And start prosecuting criminals.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/21/2009 @ 8:55 pm

  2. I hope POTUS holds strong on this one.

    The Senator is pretty much invoking the Nuremburg defense when he says that the intel officers were operating in good faith – just following orders.

    Good thing the courts don’t see that as a plausible excuse for criminal behavior.

    Comment by Liz — 1/21/2009 @ 10:40 pm

  3. Mr. President:

    In this thread, you are listening to the opinions of three traditionally Republican voters.

    There are times and situations in which is is correct to dread the expenditure of political capital. This is not one of those situations. This is an opportunity to drive a solid wedge between the GOP and a good chunk of its supporters.

    I don’t think you’ve got the balls to do it. So prove me wrong. Drive this wedge. Show me that, under Barack Obama, America is a nation ruled by laws, not by political expediency.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/21/2009 @ 11:37 pm

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