Earlier this month I posed the question of whether or not US Attorney General Eric Holder has ever truly understood his job. In that case, it was because he expressed regrets over not ensuring that new restrictions on gun owners’ rights were passed during his tenure, even though legislation is not the purview of the Attorney General’s office. Now, as we thankfully near the end of his time in office, he seems to be making a concerted effort to roll out as many reasons as he can to ensure we question his qualifications. In yet another set of extemporaneous comments, Holder suddenly decided that it was his place to decide whether or not capital punishment was an appropriate sentence for the worst criminals in the country.
Attorney General Eric Holder called Tuesday for a national moratorium on the death penalty until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue later this year.
“Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there’s always the possibility that mistakes will be made,” he said.
“It is one thing to put somebody in jail for an extended period of time, have some new test that you can do and determine that person was, in fact, innocent. There is no ability to correct a mistake where somebody has, in fact, been executed. And that is from my perspective the ultimate nightmare.”
Holder went on to say he disagrees with Justice Antonin Scalia, who has said the U.S. has never executed an innocent person.
“It’s inevitable,” he said during a luncheon at the National Press Club.
I don’t begrudge the man an opinion, as any citizen is free to weigh in. But when you do so in your position as the Top Cop of the nation from the podium at the National Press Club you are speaking as an office holder. And the duties of your office are to enforce the laws, not to create or modify them. The punishment for any given crime is a function of the legislation which makes that particular activity a criminal action. Once again, this is the job of the Legislative branch, not the Executive. Is this in some way not clear to you?
I don’t know how history will compile the history of this man’s term in office. We can list several in no particular order. This is the man who chose to label the Fort Hood attacks as workplace violence. He sought to prosecute Fox News reporter, James Rosen. He has gone on record as a biased partisan, publicly stating that conservatives are the source of most of society’s ills. He has defied the Supreme Court, stating that the right to keep and bear arms is not a constitutional right for the individual. And let’s not forget Fast & Furious.
This has been a sad episode in the history of an important office and that office has been diminished because of it. The sooner he packs his things and goes, the sooner the nation can breathe a sigh of relief. The next Attorney General may not prove to be much better, but I find it difficult to imagine her being much worse.