Prominent voices from both sides of the aisle are calling for embattled Attorney General Eric Holder to resign as America’s chief law enforcement officer. Even those on the left have abandoned him. Holder has presided over a “comprehensive erosion of privacy rights, press freedom and due process,” according to liberal professor Jonathan Turley.
Here are five reasons why Holder should not resign:
(1) If Holder is culpable, let him face investigation and the legal consequences for his actions. If he is not, let him keep his job. Resignation is an unsatisfying compromise that leaves the American public without the answers we deserve.
(2) This is no time for him to ride off into the sunset. Resignation would allow him to disappear over the horizon and return to private life. The press will move on to the next kerfuffle du jour, and the American people will lose interest in what he may or may not have done while serving as attorney general.
(3) Resigning would immediately reduce his accountability. Resignation would make it easier for Holder to claim he no longer has access to key information. When congressional committees seek answers to the many unanswered questions, Holder can claim that he doesn’t know and that he no longer has access to relevant information.
(4) We don’t need any more obfuscation. Holder’s resignation would give political cover to the administration’s erosion of privacy rights, press freedom and due process. The federal leviathan now has unprecedented access to health information, thanks to the behemoth of bad legislation known as Obamacare.
Freedom of the press goes the way of individual privacy. Outrageous incursions — obtaining phone records of editors and reporters at The Associated Press, the electronic monitoring of Fox News reporter James Rosen — together with Holder’s denials before the House Judiciary Committee that he was not involved in either incident prompted Obama to ask Holder to investigate himself.
And remember that bit in the Fifth Amendment about no person being “deprived of life” without “due process of law”? I missed the part where it says “except in the case of drone strikes.” Waterboarding non-citizen, enemy-combatant jihadis makes the president evil, whereas vaporizing U.S. citizens from the sky makes the president a hero.
(5) Atonement requires more than just a sacrificial lamb. Holder should not resign because that will allow the left to claim that he was a rogue attorney general and that his boss bears no responsibility for his misdeeds. It will allow Obama to escape making the tough public decision to fire him for cause, and it would give Obama an easy way out.
Obama faces a watershed moment in his presidency. From Benghazi to the IRS scandal to the AP and James Rosen investigations to the NSA’s surveillance of the entire population, the American people have innumerable unanswered questions about this administration’s approach to the rule of law.
Obama promised the most transparent administration ever. He claimed he would bring “an unprecedented level of openness in government” that would “work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency.”
He promised transparency. He delivers opacity, blocking investigations of wrongdoing. He promised “a review of government regulations” to find and “fix” rules unnecessarily burdening business. He delivers a one-way ratchet on federal governmental expansion at the inevitable expense of individual freedom.
Holder’s resignation would make things easier on this administration. And that’s the last thing we need.
Gayle Trotter is an attorney and writer. The views expressed are her own.