Eric Holder and the LGBT Community

With the backing of the civil rights community -- and a stellar record on gay rights -- Eric Holder is immensely qualified for the critical position of Attorney General.

BY Joe Solmonese

January 27 2009 12:00 AM ET

Although several
of President Obama's cabinet nominees have been
confirmed by voice vote or nearly unanimously, some senators
are delaying and politicizing Eric Holder’s
nomination as the next Attorney General. Politicizing
the confirmation of one of the most qualified individuals
ever to be nominated in this post, should remind the LGBT
and broader civil rights communities that our
opponents remain eager to block any move toward
restoring the federal government’s role in protecting
civil rights.

While the LGBT
community has a stake in seeing fair-minded leaders in
every cabinet agency, the Attorney General (AG), is among
the most critical positions. The AG is
America’s lawyer, appointed to serve all
people, not just the president or his administration. As the
chief enforcer of civil rights, the AG must have a
comprehensive vision of the government’s
authority to preserve equality for everyone.

As the Department
of Justice’s (DOJ) leader, the AG determines the
department’s litigation priorities. Under the Bush
Administration, the DOJ reduced the
department’s focus on prosecuting cases of racial,
ethnic and sex discrimination. This dramatic change in
civil rights priorities led to the Justice Department
litigating fewer cases involving hate crimes, voting
rights and employment discrimination.

Logically, one
would expect Eric Holder, as President Obama's nominee, to
sail through the confirmation process. Immensely qualified,
Holder has the support of an impressive array of
constituencies. The civil rights community, led by the
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, has sent a
letter of support with signatories from across the civil
rights community such as the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of
La Raza and the National Partnership for Women &
Families. Law enforcement, including the International
Association of Chiefs of Police, has urged the Senate
to confirm Holder. And the broader legal community,
from both Democratic and Republican circles, has spoken
of his intellectual rigor, professional judgment, high
ethical standards and outstanding qualifications.

Tags: Politics

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