Will Attorney General Eric Holder Restrict or Expand Executive Power?


The Nation's John Nichols has a good question for Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, who faces Senate confirmation hearings tomorrow:

Shortly after the USA Patriot Act was signed into law, at a point when the Bush administration was proposing to further erode barriers to governmental abuses, you argued that federal government officials who questioned the wisdom of eliminating established protocols and lines of separation between federal agencies–many of which were designed to protect against the concentration of executive power and the abuses that flow from it–should be fired. Specifically, you said in 2002 on CNN, "We're dealing with a different world now. Everybody should remember those pictures that we saw on September the 11th. The World Trade Centers aflame, the pictures of the Pentagon, and any time some petty bureaucrat decides that his or her little piece of turf is being invaded, get rid of that person. Those are the kinds of things we have to do." Why should you be trusted to uphold the Constitution and serve as the nation's chief law-enforcement officer–as opposed to a mere legal extension of the unitary executive?