Thursday, January 8, 2009

Statement of Mr. Benjamin Todd Jealous; President and CEO of the NAACP, on the nomination of Eric Holder to be Attorney General of the United States

Good morning. My name is Benjamin Todd Jealous and I am the President and CEO of the NAACP, our Nation’s oldest, largest and best known grassroots based civil rights organization.

I am here to lend our organizations’ strong and unwavering support to the nomination of Eric Holder to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States. In fact, prior to the holidays and just after President-elect Obama announced Mr. Holder’s nomination, NAACP National Board Chairman Julian Bond and I sent a joint letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter urging their “swift and resounding” support for Mr. Holder’s confirmation.

Eric Holder’s historic nomination to serve as Attorney General could not have come at a more crucial time. Eric Holder is uniquely qualified to lead the Department of Justice out of the quagmire in which it currently finds itself. He is the best qualified candidate to help the US Department of Justice reinvigorate itself and regain its rightful place as our country’s enforcer of our civil rights, voting rights, employment rights and housing rights laws. Furthermore, Eric Holder’s background and his experience make him exceptionally qualified to tackle the issues surrounding law enforcement misconduct, issues that have continued to plague African American communities and communities of color throughout the United States.

Eric Holder’s background has consistently demonstrated that he is a fair and impartial leader who will be able to rebuild and lead a strong, robust and accountable U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Holder has proven himself to be strong, consistent and judicious not only in his capacity as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, as a Superior Court Judge and as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity section of the Department of Justice, but also as Deputy Attorney General of the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno. He further proved himself to all sides as an integral leader of the transition team when the Department of Justice was changing leadership from Attorney General Reno to the newly confirmed Attorney General Ashcroft in 2000.

And so I must reiterate the NAACP’s strong support for the nomination of Eric Holder as the next Attorney General. The NAACP looks forward to working with Mr. Holder to ensure that our Nation’s voting rights laws, employment protection laws and anti-housing discrimination laws are strictly enforced. We also look forward to a reinvigorated Patterns and Practices Department within the Department of Justice to ensure that more rogue police departments are bought into line. Only with strong protections, the sort that Eric Holder is uniquely qualified to ensure and deliver, can we as a country begin to have renewed confidence in the Department of Justice. Thus, I again urge the entire United States Senate to act swiftly and resoundingly in confirming Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

Thank you.

BTJ - January 7, 2009

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