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Thread: How influential is the Attorney General...

  1. #1
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    How influential is the Attorney General...

    Forgive me as I'm not completely sure what responsibilities the Attorney General has because I am not up to speed on all positions of government, but supposedly Eric Holder has been selected by Obama as our next AG, and he is a huge anti-drug/anti-gun "czar".

    http://www.examiner.com/x-536-Civil-...and-gun-banner

    You can probably toss out those fondly held hopes for drug-law reform under the incoming Obama administration. Eric H. Holder, Jr., President-Elect Barack Obama's choice for Attorney General, is undoubtedly a competent nominee with significant Justice Department experience under his belt, but he's an enthusiastic supporter of drug prohibition even when it comes to simple marijuana possession. And if you were bitterly clinging to Obama's professed support for the Second Amendment, let the scales fall from your eyes. The likely AG-to-be is a long-time opponent of the right to bear arms.
    Holder is just as hostile to firearms possession as he is to the use of marijuana. As Deputy Attorney General, he put forward Clinton administration proposals for imposing draconian restrictions on private individuals who want to sell a gun or two from their personal collections at gun shows and flea markets. "Under our proposal, Brady background checks would be required for all guns that are sold at gun shows, even if the gun is sold by a vendor who is not licensed."
    Even after he left government, Holder signed on to former Attorney General Janet Reno's amicus brief (PDF) in the case of D.C. v. Heller, opposing the position that the Supreme Court finally adopted: that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. The brief Holder signed explicitly asserted, "The Second Amendment does not protect firearms possession or use that Is unrelated to participation In a well-regulated militia."

    After the Supreme Court rendered its pro-individual-rights decision earlier this year, Holder objected that the ruling "opens the door to more people having more access to guns and putting guns on the streets."
    Looks like what the president-elect has been claiming, and what his selected staff are saying are two polar opposites. Can anyone shed some light on how this particular position can/will affect us?

  2. #2
    If you happen to own a church and a lot of guns, the wrong attorney general can ruin your day. Or 51 of them.

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    Much like the previous discussions on Executive Orders, the AG remains bound by the Constitution, settled law and instruction from the Executive,

    What an AG does is set the TONE of federal law agency focus.

    IMHO what we can expect to see would be

    First term

    High profile but essentially meaningless "War on illegal guns" announcement, ATF receives instruction to "pursue aggressively", series of high profile but ultimately unsuccessful 4473 prosecutions .

    Tiahrt Amendment repealed or "Under review" and words about closing the "gun show loophole" which won't affect intrastate FTF private sales.

    Discussions and some pushes for states to up the ownership age for handguns to 21, most states tell him to bugger off.

    Son of AWB will be raised and die in committee

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    Does anyone remember Janet Reno??

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    Among Other Things...

    ...the Attorney General now has the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in his bailiwick, hence is responsible for the thrust of F Troop's activity.

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    Given the socalist leanings of the upcoming .gov, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with being titled "Tsar" of anything. That turned out kinda bad for the last one. Just saying.

    On topic, the AG has wide leeway in how agressivly and which crimes get pursued. Like bakert said, think of the Reno Justice Department.

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    Take a politically motivated attorney and put the full power of the federal government behind them.

    What could go wrong?

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    Manufacturers, distributors, and dealers are going to feel more heat than customers... though that ain't saying much. What I expect is that ATF will take this opportunity to address gray areas in gun laws, and not in gun owners' or the gun industry's favor.

    Here is one example. It is legal for a non-FFL to build a firearm from scratch for personal use. To be "in the business" of building them requires a license. What is the definition of "in this business"? Will the interpretation be changed to state you can never sell a home-build? Will an arbitrary limit be imposed - say, one home-build per year is ok, while any more than that and you're "in the business" even if you don't sell them right away, because you can in the future.
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    Given the socalist leanings of the upcoming .gov, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with being titled "Tsar" of anything. That turned out kinda bad for the last one.
    As well it should have done. See my signature line, please.
    No tyrant should ever be allowed to die a natural death.

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    Actually, spwenger, BATFE is under Treasury. I doubt the new Treasury Secty. will have time to place much priority on BATFE issues for a while...

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    Actually, spwenger, BATFE is under Treasury. I doubt the new Treasury Secty. will have time to place much priority on BATFE issues for a while...
    By the same token, the new Secretary will not have time to oversee what the head of ATF is doing. That makes that appointment all the more critical to watch.

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    Flynt: "Actually, spwenger, BATFE is under Treasury."
    ========================================

    It used to be, but not anymore. It moved to DOJ two or three years ago.

    From the ATF website (emphasis added):

    "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a principal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice dedicated to preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting our Nation."

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    ...and I find that quote rather amusing, by the way. I guess they're dedicated to protecting us from all that tobacco-related terrorism and keeping us safe from alcohol.

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    I'd forgotten ATF transferred. I thought the FBI's objections to the transfer had prevented it.

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    Remember the previous AG John Ashcroft? His Justice Dept. was the first to assert in briefs by DOJ that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right. I believe he had a lot of influence on taking DOJ in that direction. He was replaced before the Heller case went to the SCOTUS. A pity, IMO.

    I will add that the AG has a lot to do with the direction DOJ takes in investigating and prosecuting gun cases. He can say, let's put more US Attorneys on gun cases, or let's be more aggressive in prosecuting mob figures. It's a question of emphasis, and I think the AG is very important in setting the direction of prosecutions.
    Last edited by esq_stu; November 20th, 2008 at 12:03 PM. Reason: added thought
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    Now we're talking in my area of expertise. (Left the DOJ a year ago to work under LESS STRESS!!!!!)

    The Attorney General of the United States has a stunning amount of power and influence. Argue with me all you want but I worked with Mr. Ashcroft and, unfortunately, with Mr. Gonzales. The AG can push HARD in a lot of directions and carries serious weight. The trick is that if he pushes hard and something goes bad, the backlash is equally hard but the AG position will generally "feed as much rope" as the person in the seat cares to pull.

    The AG also sets the "tone" of policy enforcement and that also has an enormous impact on the behavior of the DOJ.

    It's an important seat, don't underestimate!
    .
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    So, is it worth calling our senators - probably only the republican senators - and asking them to grill Holder (if he is nominated) on 2nd Amendment issues, and try to block his confirmation if they don't get exceptionally good answers?

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    Hell YES it's worth it.

    Holder earned his "chops" taking down Dan Rostenkowski then seemed to flip with the Marc Rich pardon. He supported the DC gun ban side in DC vs Heller. He publically stated he was against the "patriot act" and was intensely vocal and critical of NSA warrantless surveillance while at the same time making an infamous comment that "dissenters should not be tolerated" and was part of the legal team for securing re-authorization of the Patriot Act.

    The man says one thing, does another, is all over the map. Consider this past statement...

    "The Attorney General is the one Cabinet member who's different from all the rest. The Attorney General serves first the people, but also serves the president. There has to be a closeness at the same time there needs to be distance."
    Classic political doublespeak neatly avoiding commitment to anything.

    I suspect that Holder is going to be Obama's "yes man".

    And to swing this back on topic for THR, I seriously doubt Holder will do anything but "weathervane" (I.E. swing to follow the wind) regarding RKBA.
    .
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    You gotta love BHO. He's about "change." You can see the "change" he has in mind by his appointments on his transition team and nominees -- they're all Clinton administration officials.

    "Change" means "turn back the clock a couple administrations."

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    Obama's professed support for the Second Amendment
    How in the hell did you print that without a ton of rebuttal and laughter?!?

    Obama mouths the words, "support for the 2nd amendment" but votes against any and ALL gun rights every chance that he got. How did this not come up in the 3 debates?!?

    Barock Obama hates guns!

    He WILL try to take them away from us!!


    Why, oh why, does it surprise anyone that every member of his cabinet, every consultant and every other appointee will be anti-gun and pro-socialist gov't?[/COLOR]
    To all gun/shooting enthusiasts :
    "Support the ENTIRE Bill of Rights, not just the 2nd Amendment, every chance you get. If one amendment gets trounced on then the others will soon follow.

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    Does it seem to anyone else that if BO ever had an original idea, it would die from being alone & neglected?
    What does this button do? .....

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    Remember the previous AG John Ashcroft? His Justice Dept. was the first to assert in briefs by DOJ that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right. I believe he had a lot of influence on taking DOJ in that direction. He was replaced before the Heller case went to the SCOTUS. A pity, IMO.
    The RKBA was the one issue Ashcroft got right. On most every other major issue, Ashcroft demonstrated an unending hatred of liberty. USA-PATRIOT, TIPS, DSEA...we have him to partially thank for a lot of anti-liberty alphabet soup programs. He even referred to opposition to USA-PATRIOT as "hysteria". (He really ought to look up the definition--hysteria originally refers to extreme sexual frustration in women.)
    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire
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    Does it seem to anyone else that if BO ever had an original idea, it would die from being alone & neglected?
    Yes, but a dozen friends and relatives who are otherwise intelligent seemed unable to recognize this. Let's all congratulate the emperor on his new wardrobe.

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    One of many henchmen in the incoming asministration.
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    David Kopel, November 20, 2008 at 7:41pm

    Eric Holder on firearms policy:

    Earlier this year, Eric Holder--along with Janet Reno and several other former officials from the Clinton Department of Justice--co-signed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller. The brief was filed in support of DC's ban on all handguns, and ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home. The brief argued that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right, not an individual one, and asserted that belief in the collective right had been the consistent policy of the U.S. Department of Justice since the FDR administration. A brief filed by some other former DOJ officials (including several Attorneys General, and Stuart Gerson, who was Acting Attorney General until Janet Reno was confirmed)took issue with the Reno-Holder brief's characterization of DOJ's viewpoint.

    But at the least, the Reno-Holder brief accurately expressed the position of the Department of Justice when Janet Reno was Attorney General and Eric Holder was Deputy Attorney General. At the oral argument before the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the panel that the Second Amendment was no barrier to gun confiscation, not even of the confiscation of guns from on-duty National Guardsmen.

    As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control. He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" (cosmetically incorrect guns) by anyone under age of 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for trivial offenses (e.g., giving your son an heirloom handgun for Christmas, if he were two weeks shy of his 21st birthday). He also promoted the factoid that "Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence"--a statistic is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as "children."(Sources: Holder testimony before House Judiciary Committee, Subcommitee on Crime, May 27,1999; Holder Weekly Briefing, May 20, 2000. One of the bills that Holder endorsed is detailed in my 1999 Issue Paper "Unfair and Unconstitutional.")

    After 9/11, he penned a Washington Post op-ed, "Keeping Guns Away From Terrorists" arguing that a new law should give "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a record of every firearm sale." He also stated that prospective gun buyers should be checked against the secret "watch lists" compiled by various government entities. (In an Issue Paper on the watch list proposal, I quote a FBI spokesman stating that there is no cause to deny gun ownership to someone simply because she is on the FBI list.)

    After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the D.C. handgun ban and self-defense ban were unconstitutional in 2007, Holder complained that the decision "opens the door to more people having more access to guns and putting guns on the streets."

    Holder played a key role in the gunpoint, night-time kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez. The pretext for the paramilitary invasion of the six-year-old's home was that someone in his family might have been licensed to carry a handgun under Florida law. Although a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo showed a federal agent dressed like a soldier and pointing a machine gun at the man who was holding the terrified child, Holder claimed that Gonzalez "was not taken at the point of a gun" and that the federal agents whom Holder had sent to capture Gonzalez had acted "very sensitively." If Mr. Holder believes that breaking down a door with a battering ram, pointing guns at children (not just Elian), and yelling "Get down, get down, we'll shoot" is example of acting "very sensitively," his judgment about the responsible use of firearms is not as acute as would be desirable for a cabinet officer who would be in charge of thousands and thousands of armed federal agents, many of them paramilitary agents with machine guns.
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