In February 2014, Holder told a Human Rights Campaign audience:
“And so the Justice Department’s role in confronting discrimination must be as aggressive today as it was in Robert Kennedy’s time. As attorney general, I will never let this department be simply a bystander during this important moment in history. We will act.”
These words are reminiscent of the famous passage from RFK’s anti-apartheid speech in 1966 in Cape Town, South Africa, which eloquently described the impact of a single principled individual who stands up for justice: “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Whatever one’s opinion of Holder’s policies, no one should doubt his deeply felt belief in Robert F. Kennedy’s words as an inspiration for his leadership as attorney general. As for me, I consider him to be one of the great attorneys general in this country’s history precisely because he focused on the word “Justice” in the name of his department and kept the faith with RFK’s legacy.