United States Senator
January 16, 2009
Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Consideration of Eric H. Holder Jr.
To Be Attorney General of the United States
January 16, 2009
Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee met for several hours between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 7:15 p.m., in the Senate Caucus Room, to consider President-elect Obama's historic designee to be the Attorney General of the United States.
Senator Warner once again showed the bipartisanship and leadership that have made him a great senator for the past 30 years. He noted that the problems facing the Department of Justice and the country are so important that we must put aside partisanship and work together. He presented and endorsed Eric H. Holder Jr. to be Attorney General and described his outstanding qualifications, integrity, and independence. Congresswoman Norton was eloquent in her statement of support for a former judge and prosecutor from the District of Columbia.
Yesterday's session provided all members of the Judiciary Committee, Republicans and Democrats, the opportunity to ask Mr. Holder about issues that are important to them, and about any aspect of his career or background that raised questions or concerns for them. Senators of both parties have done so. Much of the questioning was substantive, and we touched on many important issues. All Senators were accorded such time as they needed in three extended rounds of questioning to ask whatever they chose.
Having heard Mr. Holder's testimony, I am more convinced than ever that Eric Holder is a person who will reinvigorate the Department of Justice and serve ably as a key member of the President's national security team. He will pursue the Justice Department's vital missions with skill, integrity, independence and a commitment to the rule of law.
This morning we will hear from a group of witnesses drawn from the public. I look forward to their testimony and thank them for cooperating with us.
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