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Holder’s enemies may cheer, but he is far from gone

The announcement of Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.’s impending resignation has lightened the scheming hearts of Republican governors and legislators who resent his interference with their attempts to curtail the voting power of African Americans. It has cheered those who think the country’s first black attorney general got too darn uppity when he called Americans “cowards” when it comes to talking about race. And it has kicked up a storm on Twitter among euphoric GOP congressmen and bewildered citizens who wonder what will happen to Holder’s investigation into policing in Ferguson, Mo.

“Good riddance Eric Holder,” tweeted Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, echoing the common GOP sentiment. “Your disregard of the Constitution of the United States will not be missed.”

Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who has a knack for injecting politics into just about any deliberation, ironically tweeted, “By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Holder’s legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any AG before him.” (Issa seems to have overlooked a guy back in Watergate days named John Mitchell, the ex-attorney general who actually did time in prison.)

Meanwhile, folks who were expecting Holder to dig into the circumstances surrounding the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson seem disappointed and suspicious.

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A guy with the Twitter moniker “BOSSYhope and change” tweeted, “#ferguson why did Holder give up? I thought he was down for the fight. Whatup?”

Some said they suspected some wicked forces at work. “For Eric Holder to resign during the Ferguson investigation and ISIS war it had to be something ‘Scandal’ bad,” one person tweeted, while another said, “Seems like he’s getting out before the fuse blows.”

Well, happy, sad or confused, everyone should slow down just a bit. Holder is not gone, yet, and the word from the Justice Department is that he will remain engaged with the Ferguson situation for as long as he is in office -- which could be a long time.

At the White House ceremony where the departure was announced, President Obama said Holder had agreed to stay until his successor is confirmed by the Senate. Given that for six years Holder has been target No. 2 -- after the president himself -- for partisan attacks from Republicans, confirmation hearings for just about any replacement will be contentious.

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The nominee will be asked to distance himself or herself from Holder’s policies, and when that does not happen (this person will be a pro-civil rights liberal, no doubt), the torches and pitchforks will come out all over Red State America. GOP senators will have no motivation to move the confirmation along quickly when so many ripe opportunities for scoring political points will be at hand.

This dynamic will only become more powerful if Republicans take control of the Senate in the fall elections. If that happens, count on a three-ring confirmation circus beginning early next year and playing out for months.

Eric Holder is far from out the door.


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