WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved, and sent to the full Senate, the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. to be the nation’s The committee vote was 17 to 2, with only two Republicans, Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, voting against the nomination.
Some Republicans had hoped to make the Holder nomination a demonstration of party strength in the face of a Democratic-controlled White House and Congress. But the air went out of that effort even before Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican, said on Tuesday that he would support Mr. Holder’s nomination.
The nomination of Mr. Holder, who would be the nation’s first African-American attorney general, will go to the Senate floor in the next few days.
More from the Washington Post:
In a surprise, given comments over the past two months, several GOP lawmakers also cast their votes for Holder. Only two Republican senators, John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, voted "nay" on the nomination. Cornyn expressed concern about the nominee's role in controversial Clinton era pardons, Holder's view on terrorism issues and his approach to gun rights.
But other members of the panel -- from Republican Lindsay Graham (S.C.) to Democrat Dick Durbin (Ill.) -- said that Holder had charted a careful balance between protecting the nation's security and endorsing civil liberties.
Only two senators on the Judiciary Committee, Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Coburn (R-OK) had the guts to stand up for gun owners. Remember that when Mr. Holder starts his anti-gun jihad on law-abiding gun owners, and when those senators who voted to confirm Mr. Holder say they "support the Second Amendment."
At least Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma's other senator, has indicated he plans to vote against Holder when his nomination comes before the full Senate:
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., cites the right to bear arms, his preference for justice over patronage, and the war on terror as reasons he plans to vote against confirming Eric Holder as attorney general.
Inhofe issued his statement in a news release, as well as on his blog and a YouTube video. The statement:
“I wanted you to be the first to know I am going to vote against to the appointment of Eric Holder to be the next attorney general of the United States.
“I believe I am speaking on behalf of Americans who value their Second Amendment personal right to own their own firearms. I also believe I am speaking on behalf of Americans who favor justice over political patronage. Finally, I believe I am speaking on behalf of Americans who realize we are in a War on Terror and want to continue the strong efforts to bring terrorists to justice. I am opposed to the appointment of Eric Holder . . .
“I take particular interest in this nomination, because I, as well as the voters of the state of Oklahoma, feel strongly that the rights conferred upon us by the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantee an individual freedom that no government regulation can take away. Eric Holder’s record and his true beliefs about the Second Amendment are clear. In a brief filed in the Heller case, Holder joined other past Department of Justice officials by saying, “The Second Amendment Does Not Protect Firearms Possession or Use That Is Unrelated To Participation In a Well-Regulated Militia” and that “recognition of an expansive individual right to keep and bear arms for private purposes will make it more difficult for the government to defend present and future firearms laws.”
In addition, at least one other senator, Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), also thinks the Second Amendment is important:
In Wyoming, we don't ask for much from Washington. We do ask that Washington limit its intrusion on our land, water and especially our Second Amendment rights. That's not a lot to ask in the grand scheme of Washington but it is critically important to the constituents who sent me to fight for them.
President Obama has nominated Eric Holder to serve as the United States attorney general. During the Clinton administration, Mr. Holder was Janet Reno's deputy attorney general from 1997-2001. Deputy Attorney General Holder was on record supporting a long list of proposals to limit the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. He supported a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases, one-gun-a-month purchasing limits, licensing and registering of all gun owners, mandatory so-called smart gun technology and regulating gun shows out of existence.
As a United States senator for Wyoming, I take very seriously the responsibility to protect and defend our right to keep and bear arms. President Obama has every right to nominate Eric Holder to be attorney general. I have the duty to closely review the nominee's qualifications and philosophy on issues important to all Americans.
During Mr. Holder's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, he said gun control is not on this administration's agenda. He also said he still supports regulating private gun sales, banning ammunition and semi-automatic assault weapons. Given Mr. Holder's career of attacks on the Second Amendment, his nomination continues to be of great concern to me. I am not convinced his philosophy on the Second Amendment is acceptable to the people of Wyoming and gun owners across the United States.
Agendas and intentions can change quickly. Our nation's highest law enforcement officer must be committed to protecting and defending our individual rights to keep and bear arms. I intend to vote "no" on the nomination of Eric Holder.