Attorney General nominee Eric Holder Jr. pledged to step up the government's fight against terrorism, restore the credibility of a Justice Department shaken by politicization, and wage an aggressive fight against perpetrators of financial fraud and market manipulation.
Speaking to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Covington & Burling partner placed special emphasis on civil rights, saying that several federal laws designed to protect rights in the workplace had languished during the Bush administration. He also said he would "reinvigorate" the the department's efforts to safeguard consumers though antitrust enforcement.
Above all, Holder signaled that the Justice Department would continue to fight terrorists at home and abroad. "And I will do so within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution," he said, in an apparent broadside to some of the Bush administration's controversial legal policies, such as the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.
His next priority, he said, would be to restore the credibility of the department stained by allegations that politics influenced career hiring decisions. Last year, the department's watchdogs released three reports documenting such abuses, and earlier this week, they released another, which focused on the Civil Rights Division.
"Under my stewardship, the Department of Justice will serve justice, not the fleeting interests of any political party," Holder said.