Bob Barr

As Lewis Carroll reminded us in 1872, “The time has come, the walrus said, To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – Of cabbages – and kings – And why the sea is boiling hot – And whether pigs have wings.” Here we are, 142 years later, and the time has come to talk not of cabbages, kings, or pigs with wings, but the rule of law in America. The time has come to talk of removing Attorney General Eric Holder.

When President Barack Obama nominated Eric Holder to serve as our country’s 82nd Attorney General shortly after the 2008 election, I sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee encouraging a “swift and positive” confirmation. This letter reflected not my many policy disagreements with Mr. Holder – ranging from our widely divergent views on the Second Amendment, to the abuses of the doctrine of “executive privilege” during his tenure in the Clinton Administration. Rather, my letter was based on my professional association with Holder during his time as an attorney in private practice during the Bush Administration.

The cooperation and professionalism Holder displayed after he left the Clinton Administration, during which time he was willing to work with a “political opponent” -- eschewing the now all-too-common hyper-partisan brinksmanship, in order to focus on the good of the nation -- is a lesson many of those now in Congress could use.

However, in June 2013, I was one of the first to call for Holder’s resignation at the Department of Justice. I repeat that call today.

So, what happened in the last four years to go from an endorsement to a sharp call for resignation? What occurred has been the “slow and dubious” unraveling of an Attorney General; with Holder either complicit, or directly involved in a litany of scandals and other problems, including: turning a blind eye to Black Panther Party voter intimidation (while aggressively attacking states' voter ID laws), Operation Fast and Furious, Justice Department-backed intimidation of government whistleblowers, department-sponsored intimidation of members of the press, and altogether failing to protect our nation’s very foundation based on the rule of law and the separation of powers in our government.

As if any more proof was needed to buttress calls for Holder to step down, witness the Attorney General’s deafening silence following Obama’s recent proclamations that he will allow neither the Constitution nor the laws of this Land to stand in the way of his implementing through unilateral Executive action whatever he desires. For a sitting Attorney General to remain silent – even complicit – in the face of such flagrant flouting of our system of government, is – and ought to be – totally unacceptable to all Members of Congress; and to every citizen who understands – as did our Founding Father John Adams – that we are “a government of laws and not of men.”

The contrast between Holder during the Clinton Administration and Holder in the current Administration is -- in a broad sense -- a testament to the manner in which power in Washington can change men’s hearts and minds. On a more parochial level, it is a grim reminder of the culture of cronyism and backroom politics Obama brought with him to Washington, D.C. from his hometown of Chicago. That the nation’s “Top Law Enforcement Official” would fail in his duty to fight such actions is disappointing in the extreme.

Since my first call for his resignation last year, things have only gotten worse -- not better -- for the Department of Justice. And, time is quickly running out.

The President’s State of the Union push to govern extra-constitutionally, and Holder’s compliance therewith, opens the floodgates for what is to come from the Obama’s “legislate-by-Executive-Action” strategy; sure to last until the end of his term if not stopped by We the People -- through our elected representatives, court challenges, and speaking out at every opportunity against an Administration that proudly proclaims itself above the law. If we cannot – as apparently we cannot – rely on the leadership at the Department of Justice to demand justice of this President, then clearly we need new leadership at that Department. We also must, as a nation, take all other lawful steps necessary to bring our government back onto what James Madison correctly called in Federalist Paper No. 49, the “Constitutional Road” mapped out by him and our other Founding Fathers more than two and a quarter centuries ago.


Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.


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