Holder says ‘it’s personal’ … and that’s the problem with his involvement in Ferguson

Holder says ‘it’s personal’ … and that’s the problem with his involvement in Ferguson

An article this morning at USA Today notes that Attorney General Eric Holder arrived yesterday in Ferguson, Mo., to spearhead a federal investigation of the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown. Some in the media have pointed out that the involvement of the Justice Department is premature in a case where charges have yet to be brought, much less a violation of the Constitution assumed. But according to reports, Gov. Jay Nixon requested federal involvement, and Lord knows that Nixon — who has stepped in it by calling for shooter Officer Darren Wilson’s “vigorous prosecution” — needs all the help he can get.

Of Holder’s arrival, USA Today writer Kevin Johnson observes that for the AG the situation in Ferguson is “deeply personal.” Johnson quotes as having told Ferguson residents at a community meeting yesterday:

I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man. I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.

This of course is nothing new for Holder, who has made race an issue throughout his tenure as the nation’s top cop. As Jeff Dunetz reminds us, Holder has allowed his own skin color to interfere with his judgment as head of the Department of Justice, so why should his handling of the Freguson investigation proceed any differently?

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Johnson has another quote by Holder, made to a group of community leaders assembled at a local community college. (As an aside, the AG certainly did a lot of speechifying on his first day in town). He said:

The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now. The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident. This is something that has a history to it, and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson.

Holder is assuming, like the mobs pillaging the town nightly, that racism is involved here. That is not just premature and reckless. It is blatantly outside the scope of the law. It is reminiscent of the very revealing comment about “empathy” made in 2007 by candidate Barack Obama, who said

We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old — and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges. [Emphasis added]

Empathy and compassion are positive traits. But they have no business in a court of law. Judges are supposed to be interpreters of the law and are sworn to render verdicts dispassionately, based on evidence and testimony. That is why justice as wearing a blindfold.

blind-justice

It is obvious that Obama used this criterion in his choice of Holder as the nation’s his chief law enforcement officer.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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