June 1, 2013
Contentious Episodes in Holder’s Tenure
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has faced criticism for several polarizing decisions made under the Obama administration.
The Justice Department scales back a voter-intimidation lawsuit from the Bush administration involving the New Black Panther Party, and Republicans call for an inquiry into the decision.
Mr. Holder names a federal prosecutor to reopen criminal investigations into the C.I.A.’s interrogation of prisoners and is sharply criticized by some former intelligence officials and Republicans in Congress. The investigation would end after three years with no criminal charges.
Mr. Holder decides to prosecute in civilian court Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and others accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — a decision that would eventually be reversed amid concern about providing security for the trial in Manhattan.
In a shift that is denounced by conservatives, Mr. Holder announces that the administration has determined that a statute barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
Mr. Holder gives a speech signaling tough scrutiny of new voter-identification laws, largely enacted by Republicans in the name of fighting fraud, to see whether they would disproportionately suppress turnout among legitimate minority voters.
The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to hold Mr. Holder in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-trafficking investigation based in Arizona. A report by the department’s inspector general would clear Mr. Holder of accusations that he had sanctioned the tactics used in the case, but the controversy continues as a House lawsuit still seeks an order to turn over the documents.
Mr. Holder comes under fire over tactics used to investigate leaks to the news media, with two top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee raising the suggestion that he had perjured himself in testimony on the topic.