January 21st, 2009
02:25 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush holdover takes the reins, awaiting Holder confirmation

Mark Filip is a Bush holdover.

Mark Filip is a Bush holdover.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Acting Attorney General Mark Filip who served as Deputy Attorney General under former President Bush has taken the reigns at the Justice Department while awaiting the confirmation of Eric Holder.

A Senate committee is currently scheduled to consider Holder's nomination as Attorney General later Wednesday, but some Republicans on the panel have indicated they plan to seek a delay because of lingering questions about Holder's role as Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton Administration.

The balking Republican lawmakers have indicated they want additional answers from Holder, who appeared before the panel last Thursday. The threat of a delay prompted a strong reaction from Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT.

"It would look like a horrible double standard for those who enthusiastically voted unanimously for Alberto Gonzales to turn down the first African-American, or hold up the first African American to be Attorney General," Leahy said.

Some GOP congressional aides have privately pointed to Democratic opposition to the more recent nomination of retired judge Michael Mukasey, whose nomination was saved only by a dramatic break with Leahy by Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California.

Democrats uniformly support the Holder nomination, and have the needed votes to pass the nomination, but rules may allow Republican objections to delay the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Filip and a cadre of career lawyers kept a low profile as they ran the wide-ranging functions of the dozens of Justice Department Divisions and Offices Wednesday.

Only the Acting Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division issued a public statement. Loretta King vowed the Department would continue to prosecute police who harm inmates.

King cited a jury conviction last week of a former Florida State Prison official who poured scalding water on a prisoner to punish him for feigning injury and lying on his jail cell floor. Paul Tillis was found guilty of pouring near scalding water on the victim's chest and then failing to arrange medical treatment for the second degree burns which resulted from his actions.

"While the vast majority of law enforcement officers carry out their in a lawful and professional manner, the "Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line and commit this type of unlawful act," King said.

The former prison official faces up to ten years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    So the rep members want to ask him hard questions regarding some questionable dealings he had and the deps want to rubber stamp Obama and all you left wing nuts can do is pull the race card. Get a life.

    January 21, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Susan

    "The Republican leadership should think very carefully about their normal practice of placing obstacles in the path of reasonable policies/appointments."

    AMEN to that! Sen. Specter of Pennsylvania needs to be very careful in choosing his words and mindful that those very words could come back to "haunt" him. I respect his right to question the President's Cabinet nominations and even to delay them for legitimate reasons. However, his seems to be some sort of personal and vengeful opinion and his words carry significant meaning.

    The American people has spoken loud and clear and I hope Congressional leaders are listening.

    January 21, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. paul oregon

    repubs . and democrats thake heed we the people are not going to
    stand for childishacts 2010 is not that far off. we the people are tired of being screwed by goverment. you can be voted out.

    January 21, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Gail

    Call your Republican congress people and senators. Tell them to seat Holder and quit holding things up!

    January 21, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. rena

    Amazing! But yet we want other countries to work with us and come in agreement with us when we ourselves can't seem to come together.

    Why can't we Americans get beyond our petty differences and take a new path that will help too not only better this country but heal us as a nation? We are such a pathetic people. This is the very reason why all nations are looking at us an laughing; the once so great of a nation is now the laughing stock of mankind. We seem weak and unstable to them at this point, this is why the economy is plugging because no one has any faith or hope in American anymore. They don't trust us and I don't blame them.

    January 21, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. John in VA

    Is it just me, or does Filip look like Frank Caliendo impersonating Filip? Just like the bitter Republicans who wish to carry on Bush's polarization of the country to impede progress.

    January 21, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Darko

    partisan hack... What does it matter if he's African American? Is he more qualified? The dems would have crucified Gonzales if he'd had the rap sheet that holder does.

    January 21, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. ¿¿¿

    I believe the word is reins, not reigns, for this one

    January 21, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. MikeH

    Hurry Filp, shred those incriminating documents, erase those illegal recordings, delete those E-mails. You gotta protect Gonzalez.

    January 21, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. budburgoonclark

    Remember the Rethuglicriminal obstructionists in 2010!

    January 21, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. KCBob

    Job for 2010: Get rid of the remaining Republicans in congress.

    January 21, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Change Has Come

    is it republican or republican't ....I can't tell. Seems odd that they would rather hold thing up and bog things down than move on and make this country a better place....I think America has become very concious of these games. It's not a game this is our country ..... Stop gumming up the process and get your behinds to work.....you might save your jobs.

    January 21, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. ran

    All i can do is shake my head in disbelief. At a time when this country is in such a mess the Republicans want to play games. i hope ever person in 2010 votes a Democrat into the Senate.

    January 21, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. joe six pack

    Republicans are looking for a blackman to lynch. Obama and Powell are out of their reach (at least for now).

    January 21, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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