The Boston Globe reports that Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obama's pick for attorney general, will face some spirited questioning during his Senate confirmation hearings on January 15:
Judiciary Committee staff members have pulled more than 150 boxes from their archives and have been poring over internal memos and transcripts from Holder's tenure at the Department of Justice.
Republicans have also asked the Justice Department and the Clinton Presidential Library for documents relating to, among other things, Clinton's impeachment, former vice president Al Gore's fund-raising activities during the 1996 presidential campaign, the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, and the pardon of financier Marc Rich.
And on Dec. 17, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Holder asking him to account for "apparent omissions" in his questionnaire, including work on gaming that Holder did in 2004 for Rod Blagojevich, the beleaguered Illinois governor.
One senior Republican Senate aide, who agreed to discuss Holder's nomination only on the condition of anonymity, said GOP senators are not necessarily looking to derail his appointment, but to force a careful review. "No one on our side wants to filibuster or slow down this nominee; that's not the issue," the aide said.
Some Republicans and analysts say Holder may also be pressed on his past support for gun control measures. In January 2008, he joined several former Justice Department officials in urging the Supreme Court to uphold Washington's ban on handguns. (The court later struck it down.)