Eric Holder is reaping applause as his six-year reign as Attorney General comes to a close. But Holder’s record is profoundly disappointing to anyone who expected the Obama administration to renounce the abuses of the previous administration. Instead, Holder championed a Nixonian-style legal philosophy that presumed that any action the president orders is legal.
Holder championed President Obama’s power to assassinate people outside the United States — including Americans — based solely on the president’s secret decrees. On March 6, 2012, Holder defended presidentially-ordered killings: “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.” TV comedian Stephen Colbert mocked Holder: “Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do.” For Holder and the Obama administration, reciting certain legal phrases in secret memos was all it took to justify executions.