In a wide-ranging exit interview with Politico, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder opened up about race and the Republican Party and called for an overhaul of federal laws that govern proof of civil-rights offenses.
Holder, the first Black U.S. attorney general who is stepping down after six years in office, told the news site that setting a new standard to prove civil-rights offenses would give the federal government more freedom to prove discrimination cases like Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
In a lengthy discussion ranging from his own exposure to the civil rights movement of the ’60s to today’s controversies surrounding the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Holder also acknowledged that he felt some of his own struggles with Republicans in Congress during his six years in office were driven partly by race.
“There have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it,” Holder said, adding that “I think that the primary motivator has probably been political in nature … [but] you can’t let it deflect you from … your eyes on the prize.”
Holder told POLITICO that between now and his departure, probably in early March when the Senate is expected to confirm Loretta Lynch as his successor, he will call for a lower standard of proof for civil rights crimes. Such a change would make it easier for the federal government to bring charges in the case of a future Ferguson or Trayvon Martin.
Well said, Mr. Holder. We will miss your candor about race and the criminal justice system in America.