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Coburn Opposes Holder

by Chris Casteel Published: January 28, 2009

As expected, Sen. Tom Coburn today voted in the Judiciary Committee against Eric Holder to be the next attorney general of the United States.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, said last week that he objected to Holder’s position on the 2nd Amendment; Holder believes the amendment gives a collective right, not an individual right to own guns. And he said he disagreed with Holder’s defense of clemency for members of Puerto Rican group (FALN) responsible for murders, bombings and other crimes.

The interest group Alliance for Justice, which supports Holder, criticized Coburn and Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, for voting against Holder, charging that it was “political grandstanding.”

In a release the group said Coburn and Cornyn supported Alberto Gonzales, “the man who turned the Department of Justice into a puppet for the Bush administration’s political agenda.”

The group cited this quote from Coburn, on Gonzales, in February 2005.

Here is a good man who has demonstrated tremendous ability through his life. Everyone says he is well qualified. Everyone knows he will make a great Attorney General. The fact is, politics is getting in the way of his confirmation.”

Here is Coburn’s statement:

“Eric Holder is a man of great ability and experience, who I initially believed was qualified to serve as Attorney General of the United States. A closer examination of his record, however, revealed acts and decisions that I believe disqualify him from the position.

“In particular, I am dissatisfied with his answers to questions about the pardon of fugitive financier, Marc Rich, the commutation of sentences for 16 FALN terrorists, as well as his views on the Second Amendment. Particularly with respect to the FALN clemency, he continued to defend as ‘reasonable’ what, in my view, was a flawed and politically-motivated decision that was adamantly opposed by law enforcement and victims. We all make lapses in judgment, but it is critical that the next attorney general exhibit exceptional judgment and impartiality. I regret that I could not, in good conscience, support Eric Holder’s nomination.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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