Eric Holder’s confirmation process for Attorney General should be rigorous. It’s on us to make it so. And by us I mean individual librarians, our associations, policy advocates, and U.S.-based social movements.
This week I spoke with Library Law‘s Mary Minow about the need for renewed advocacy around the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 215 governing FISA Warrants and Section 206 related to Roving Wiretaps both sunset in December 2009, while attempts are also being made to set a sunset on current NSL rules under Section 505). Mary contends, and I agree, “Our best use of focused efforts should be asking senators at Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings to ask the right questions about the expiration.”
I would add: these questions should not focus on patching over the act through more weak revisions. As John Nichols wrote in The Nation, we need “a very serious, very aggressive confirmation process that should not simply presume that Holder will ‘get it’ when questions about the Constitution arise.”
Before we get there, we should all know a bit more about Holder. He is, after all, one of the legal architects for the reauthorized PATRIOT Act (passed in 2006), and he’s had some pretty conflicting things to say surrounding human rights (re: Guantanamo detainees he said in 2002, “…they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.” But last June, he called Guantanamo an “international embarrassment”). That’s some progress.
The standard we hold Holder to should be one of international concern, of human rights and global justice — not mere constitutionality.
So here are some places to start getting to know Holder:
- C-Net: Obama’s attorney general pick: Good on privacy?
- Salon.com: Preliminary facts and thoughts about Eric Holder
See also Democracy Now: