Testimony of Eric H. Holder, Jr Attorney General nominee part 1 of 2

This afternoon C-Span provided coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee interview of the Honorable Eric H. Holder, nominee for Attorney General.

“Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. (born January 21, 1951), is a former Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, United States Attorney and Deputy Attorney General of the United States” in the Clinton Administration under Janet Reno. He is “currently a senior legal advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, a position he also held in Obama’s campaign. He was one of three members of Obama’s vice-presidential selection committee.”

Some of the key areas discussed in the third round of questioning by the Republican Senators are captured below. I will add additional topics in part 2 of 2.

As a blogger and reporter one area that might impact those of us who are engaged in any form of communications is a pending “Media Shield Bill.”

The first Senator to question Mr. Holder on his opinion of this Bill was the Republican Minority Whip Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. The exchange presented the challenge of compelling testimony of reporters. The challenge. Protecting our national security while maintaining a “free press” and protection of reporter sources. To achieve that balance their is a movement for some form of law to be enacted.  Mr. Holder said that he was “too reluctant to be specific.” He added that he has no experience with the Bill. They also discussed wiretapping. The argument is that our national security and foreign intelligence has been jeopardized. The question posed was whether or not reporters would obey the law as they protect source information. One proposal is to have the reporter provide the source information under seal to the court to which Mr. Holder replied that “it strikes me as somewhat reasonable.”

The first exchange I watched was a question from ranking member Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania who asked about reinstating the “Fairness Doctrine.” The Attorney General nominee said he was “not prepared to discuss this” issue.  When it was his turn to question the nominee Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions again asked about the government role interjecting itself into the media coverage on public airwaves.

And now for a few questions for Juice readers:

Issue #1. Media Shield. This “bill would create a legal privilege for reporters to protect confidential sources and is strongly opposed by the Director of National Intelligence Adm. Mike McConnell and Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo), ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  McConnell and Bond believe that the bill would interfere with intelligence collection (even changing the just-amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and making the prosecution of leakers almost impossible….”

Question #1 Is the proposed “Media Shield” Bill another effort by the government to take away our freedom and liberty protection?

Issue #2. “The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was (in the Commission’s view) honest, equitable, and balanced.
The United States Supreme Court upheld the Commission’s general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited, but the courts have generally not ruled that the FCC is obliged to do so.In 1987, the FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine, prompting some to urge its reintroduction through either Commission policy or Congressional legislation.”

Question #2.  Since the election of president elect Obama there has been a great deal of dialogue regarding reinstating the Fairness Doctrine to stifle some conservative talk radio commentators. As we all have multiple sources for getting political news do you feel this doctrine should be reinstated?

Question #3   With a Democratic Majority on the Judiciary Committee and in the Senate, do you think Eric Holder, Jr. will be confirmed?

Part 2 will cover Gitmo, FALN,”The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (English: Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN) was a Puerto Rican clandestine paramilitary organization that, through direct action, advocated complete independence for Puerto Rico. At the time of its dissolution, the FALN was responsible for more than 120 bomb attacks on United States targets between 1974 and 1983.The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies the FALN as a terrorist organization, and the pardon of “financier fraudster Marc Rich, once among the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives” by former president Bill Clinton as he was about to leave office.

About Larry Gilbert