Eric Holder to be the first black Attorney General

It was announced today that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General of the United States. His selection marks the first time in history that an African-American has been selected to head this vital government agency. I believe that this selection will have far-reaching implications, the likes of which we may not know for some time.

The role of the Justice Department is an important, yet slightly unknown role to most people. The role of the department is: "To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans." This is a rather broad definition, but one that holds considerable amounts of weight in some key instances.

When it comes to Civil Rights cases both past and present, and current instances of Civil Rights that may not be properly investigated by local law enforcement agencies, the Justice Department becomes the crucial agency that prosecutes these crimes. The agency will also become crucial in the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, which is one of the main goals of the Obama foreign policy.

This move is a crucial move in diversifying Obama's cabinet. It is crucial that he names qualified non-whites and women to his cabinet because they in large were the ones who won him the election. In this instance Holder is one of the most experienced members of the Justice Department, having served as Deputy Attorney General under former President Bill Clinton. Furthermore, Holder has a clear history of being an advocate for Civil Rights, having worked in one of the most successful presidential terms when it comes to the issue. I envision that during his tenure he will do for the Justice Department what one of his predecessors Alberto Gonzalez failed to do in his term. With moves like this, and some of the others coming up, Obama is clearly making his cabinet diverse. Bravo to that!


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