January 27th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
7 months ago

Specter will support Holder

Specter said he will support Holder, clearing the way for his nomination as attorney general to be confirmed.
Specter said he will support Holder, clearing the way for his nomination as attorney general to be confirmed.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday he will support the nomination of Attorney General-designate Eric Holder when the panel votes on it Wednesday.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, had angered Holder during the confirmation hearing 10 days ago when he questioned Holder's "fitness" for the office.

Specter questioned whether Holder would be politically independent from the White House, recalling Holder's refusal as deputy attorney general to seek an independent counsel for an investigation of allegedly questionable fund-raising by then-Vice President Al Gore.

A clearly annoyed Holder then warned Specter he was "getting close to the line in questioning my integrity."

It was the only heated exchange during a long day of testimony. Specter had also been particularly aggressive in challenging Holder's account of his role in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by President Bill Clinton.

And Specter, who later met with Holder privately, says he is satisfied on yet another point - that Holder is not intent on prosecuting Bush-era officials who were operating under what they presumed to be a lawful order when they engaged in harsh interrogation techniques.

"After considerable thought and analyzing a lot of factors I've decided to vote in favor of the confirmation of Mr. Holder," Specter told reporters.

He previously had been non-committal on the matter. His decision may foreshadow a unanimous committee vote.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, has also been publicly non-committal. Most, if not all, other Republicans on the panel are expected to back the nomination, if reluctantly. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has publicly declared his support for Holder.

All Democrats support Holder's confirmation, so passage is assured. With Specter agreeing to support the nomination, Holder's floor vote and swearing in could be accomplished by the end of this week. Outgoing Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip is serving as acting attorney general until Holder arrives at the Justice Department.


Filed under: Eric Holder
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Simmy

    La de da, The almighty has spoken. I think Holder will get confirmed despite and inspite of Specter. But thanks.

    January 27, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Jessica, Norther VA

    If Holder was telling the truth, I wonder if President Obama is voicing the same opinion. If they do have different thoughts, this is not looking good when it comes to correcting the mistakes of the past.

    January 27, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Albo58

    With all the skeletons that have been discussed about other cabinet members and they WERE accepted, might as well approve Holder. He'll experience will come in handy during the selling of presidential pardons in 4 years!

    January 27, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Moderate Democrat

    Specter needs to be real careful if he intends to seek reelection. He will face a strong challenger and the winds are against him. The more Republicans obstruct our new President, the more Americans will want change.

    January 27, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. Dan

    I do not believe that Eric Holder is qualified to be our attorney general. He is not trustworthy.

    January 27, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. shannon

    well they supported a tax cheat, so anyone looks good after that! This is change, a Ratheon lobbyist and tax cheats...

    January 27, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Mike Dallas

    Who gives a rip!

    January 27, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. cobra

    Spector has lost his marbles

    January 27, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. German,Irish American

    Nohing to see here, just another criminal that will be appointed to the cabinet of the most racist, bigoted, Socialist President ever elected in the USA. Move along sheeple, the cliff isn't much further now.

    January 27, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Good! I really like Arlen Spector, but I am glad that someone is standing up to anyone, really, who gets too personal.

    January 27, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. Joshua College Station Texas

    Why all this bending over backwards for Republicans?! They lost!!

    I agree that it is good to compromise, but not on principles! C'mon Democrats, use the support Americans have given you, and prosecute deliberate wrongdoing, dishonesty, law-breaking, and error!

    January 27, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. Ray Fisher

    A refreshing difference from the GOP's shabby performance with the President as he talked with them in goodwill and fellowship in a very dark time in our nation and they had already planned to destroy his attempt before he arrived. It was a day of shameful obstructionism by a bunch of poor losers. Our nation deserves much better!!!

    January 27, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. NotAngry

    I have one question… why is it that the word ‘angry’ always appears in reference to African-American politicians e.g. the Holder story and the recent story on the first lady’s daughters. I am sure that all African-Americans aren't angry...

    January 27, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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