In recent weeks, GOP senators have been balking over the scheduled Jan. 8 confirmation hearings for Eric Holder, President-elect Obama’s nominee for attorney general. Following the lead of Karl Rove, these senators have been claiming that they need more time to prepare their attacks on Holder. Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he has decided to postpone the hearings one week until Jan. 15:
The Committee has not yet received the names of other designees for high-ranking Department of Justice officials that we had anticipated and more time is now available to the Judiciary Committee. Therefore, to accommodate the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, at their request we are delaying the hearing, again, until January 15. The Assistant Republican Leader said last year that ‘attorney general nominees have been confirmed, on average, in approximately three weeks.’
Nonetheless, in order to accommodate the Republicans members, I am rescheduling the hearing on Mr. Holder for twice that long, until more than six weeks after his official designation. It is disappointing to me that they are insisting that we delay at a time when the nation needs its top law enforcement officer and national security team in place and working. I trust that with this additional time to prepare, they will cooperate in proceeding promptly to Committee and Senate consideration of the historic Holder nomination as Democrats did for President Bush.