Holder looks to shake it up before leaving office

With Loretta Lynch on her way to becoming the next U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder is opening up about his time on the job which he has held since President Obama first came into office.

In an interview with Politico, the outgoing chief prosecutor clearly feels proud of the time he has served working for America’s first black president. In that vein however, he feels there are more changes that need to be made in order to progress civil rights justice.

Holder spoke specifically about his plans for between now and when he leaves office:

Holder told POLITICO that between now and his departure, probably in early March when the Senate is expected to confirm Loretta Lynch as his successor, he will call for a lower standard of proof for civil rights crimes. Such a change would make it easier for the federal government to bring charges in the case of a future Ferguson or Trayvon Martin.

“I think some serious consideration needs to be given to the standard of proof that has to be met before federal involvement is appropriate, and that’s something that I am going to be talking about before I leave office,” Holder said.

The Justice Department hasn’t only been active in going after social injustice. A record number of federal charges have been filed against so-called whistle-blowers who have exposed classified government information to the public. Mr. Holder is taken back by the criticism that his department and the Obama administration have leveled First Amendment rights: “The most in history. And you say that — when you say it that way, that sounds like, ‘Whoa, we’re the most in history’.”

Indeed, eight prosecutions have helped lead to the U.S. dropping from 20th to 49th in the world-wide press freedom rankings since Obama assumed the White House six years ago. Holder seems to be sympathetic though, claiming that “outreach efforts” have been made to the press by the Department.

We have put in place really substantial, new mechanisms so that — for instance, people in the media will get notice before the Justice Department does a variety of things. This is unheard of.

Whatever the hell that means.


[Politico] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Pablo Martinez/AP]