Eric H. Holder was sworn-in Tuesday as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States. He is the first African-American to lead the Justice Department, and surely the first A.G. to be treated as a bona fide rock star.That wasn't a partisan welcome, it was a cheer for the return to the rule of law and the break from the political interference of the Bush administration. Video of the welcome, here. Good luck to him, he may need it:
When Holder arrived at the department for the ceremony, a throng of Justice Department employees greeted him with thunderous applause, many snapping away with cell phone cameras to capture the moment. He sprinted up five flights of stairs where an even larger crowd erupted into cheers when Holder said, “it is so good to be home.” Holder served as Acting Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and United States Attorney in the Clinton administration.
Vice President Joseph Biden administered the oath of office while Holder’s wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, held a family Bible. In his remarks, Biden went to the heart of what the Obama (and now Holder) Justice Department is promising: an agency free of politics and ideology following a long string of investigations that found extensive evidence of political interference by Justice appointees.
As Eric Holder enters the smoldering wreckage of the Justice Department, the challenges he faces will require extraordinary energy and exertion. He will enter with only a few hundred political appointees, while far larger number of “loyal Bushies” have been burrowed (illegally, as the Department acknowledges in its own internal probe) deeply into the institution. The first struggle on the horizon is likely to be a struggle within Justice for the institution’s soul. I expect sabotage and disinformation to flow freely for several months. Hang on for the ride.Back to the main event, hearing Holder pledge to keep politics out of the Department of Justice and restore the integrity of the "crown jewel" had such a welcome ring to it. Respect for the law and accountability, it's something we need to restore here as well.