Monday, February 2, 2009

NAACP Congratulates Eric Holder on being confirmed US Attorney General

The NAACP congratulates Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General and is excited about the potential his confirmation means to the justice system in America. Holder will also make history as the first African American to hold the highest federal law enforcement position.

"Our nation, and especially our racial and ethnic minority citizens, are clearly facing a crisis in confidence that the U.S. Department of Justice has become dysfunctional and is not a true defender of our rights," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Eric Holder is the right person at this time to rebuild not only the department, but also our country's reputation as a defender of the rights of all Americans. He is the best qualified candidate to help the U.S. 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. There is no doubt in my mind that he will lead the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United States, with an integrity and strength that is sorely needed at this time."

Holder's background has consistently demonstrated that he is a fair and impartial leader, Jealous added.

"We also look forward to a reinvigorated Civil Rights Division and Patterns and Practices Unit within the Department of Justice to ensure that Americans are protected and more rogue police departments are brought into line," said Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Vice President of Advocacy. "Only with strong oversight and protections, the sort that Eric Holder is uniquely qualified to develop and deliver, can we as a nation begin to have renewed confidence in the Department of Justice."

In his capacity as the U.S. 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, Holder has repeatedly proven himself as a tough enforcer of the Constitution. He further distinguished himself as an integral leader of the transition team between the Clinton and Bush administrations when the department changed leadership to Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2000.

Throughout his career, Holder took seriously several issues of concern to the NAACP and its members. As U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, he placed a renewed emphasis on hate crimes, putting in place measures that made sure criminal acts of intolerance would be severely punished. He created a domestic violence unit and developed a comprehensive strategy that led to more effective handling of child abuse cases. He also fostered community involvement in law enforcement by establishing a Community Prosecution Program that formed an active dialogue between his office and neighborhoods, particularly those in crisis.

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