I’m watching Sen. Arlen Specter on the Senate floor right now blithering about how he’ll vote for AG nominee Eric Holder despite the corrupt Marc Rich and FALN pardons.
Holder “deserves the benefit of the doubt” and deserves bipartisanship support since Sen. Leahy supported Chief Justice John Roberts.
The latest AP dispatch on Holder’s expected smooth sailing on the nomination vote today doesn’t even bother to mention Rich and FALN.
Sen. Vitter’s office just e-mailed his statement:
“I’m afraid Eric Holder just doesn’t pass the basic test of political independence. In the Clinton administration, he advanced the Marc Rich pardon, which FBI Director Louis Freeh correctly called a ‘corrupt act.’ And he bowed to leftist pressure in helping promote clemency for 16 members of Fuerzas Armadas de Liberation National (FALN) and Los Macheteros, terrorist organizations linked by the FBI to more than 130 bombings and six murders. That’s not grounds for a big promotion in my mind,” said Vitter.
3:48pm Eastern. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn has just taken to the floor to express his opposition to Holder based on the pardons and Holder’s views on the 2nd and 1st amendments.
He lacks judgment, independence, and candor necessary to be Attorney General.
On Rich pardon: He allowed his judgment to be overridden by political considerations.
On FALN pardons: Holder has embraced his role, unapologetic despite knowing little about the terrorists and their crimes before approving the commutations.
On Holder’s hostility to 2nd amendment: Despite Holder’s assurances on Heller, he is a zealous activist on anti-gun advocacy — age restrictions, bans, gun show loophole, state right-to-carry laws. (See David Kopel.) He has been a vocal anti-gun activist, but failed to be candid about those views during hearings. He will not adequately defend the Second Amendment.
On Fairness Doctrine: Coburn highlights Holder’s openness to Fairness Doctrine in 2004 and evasiveness in questioning.
Coburn recounts his vote for Alberto Gonzales, which he would not have cast in hindsight.
Coburn: I cannot in good conscience support this nomination.
4:08pm Eastern. Illinois Sen. Roland Burris makes his floor debut with a little race card-playing. Natch.
4:38pm Eastern. Sen. John Cornyn will vote no on Holder.
5:02pm Eastern. Bunning is a no.
Update here: Final vote 75-21.