Holder: Transcript of Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings
Courtesy of David comes this New York Times transcript (Day 1) and (Day 2) of AG-nominee Eric Holder's testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Read it all, but here's two particularly illuminating sequences, both from Day 1:
(at page 69)
COBURN: Since we only have five minutes, I want to go back to guns just for a minute. Do you have any plans to issue regulations or seek a change in the concealed carry laws of the states or have a federal regulation that might impact those?
HOLDER: That has not been something that I have discussed with anybody in the administration. It's nothing that I've contemplated.
COBURN: It's nothing you're contemplating.
And I understand President-elect Obama does have an opinion on "assault weapons," quote, "assault weapons." Can you tell me what your plans are and how you view that and whether or not you think that may or not be reinstituted?
I think you had asked me earlier about the regulations that I thought might still exist, post-Heller. And I had mentioned, I think, closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent would be something that would be permitted under Heller, and I also think would be good for my law enforcement perspective.
COBURN: OK. Thank you.
(at page 88)
COBURN: Thank you.
And then my last question about guns. Promise, I'll never ask you another one in the committee hearing. And all I want is a yes or no, because I think people need to hear where you're going on this. There's some uneasiness among the second amendment crowd in this country, and what I'm trying to do is clarify that.
Will you commit to protect and preserve the rights of those 40 states that have a -right-to-carry law by opposing legislation that would encroach upon those rights?
HOLDER: In the opposing state legislation? I'm not...
COBURN: No, opposing federal legislation that would encroach upon those rights.
Let me say it again.
HOLDER: Yes, I understand the question. I'm just not sure how -- what the appropriate role would be for the federal government in the situation that you described. I don't...
COBURN: Well, if we're passing a law, that's obviously going to do that as the supreme enforcer of the law in this land. As the head law enforcer, it should be upon you to challenge that and accord when it, obviously, is going to violate the Heller decision.
So, what I'm asking you is to specifically state that if we pass something that violates these state laws, in other words, are going to limit these state laws, take away second amendment rights as being defined by the Heller decision, will you in fact intercede on the basis of that Heller decision to defend the rights of the state to have carry laws?
HOLDER: Well, I wouldn't support any law that violated the dictates of Heller.
Now, I don't know -- the question you asked is hypothetical. It's hard to answer hypotheticals without having all of the facts. But I will state, as I said, I think earlier, Heller is the law of the land. It has to be taken into account with regard to any legislation that might be considered.
COBURN: Well, let me just pin you down just a little bit closer so I can get comfortable.
COBURN: Do you believe the states presently have the right to establish carry laws in the states?
HOLDER: I think...
COBURN: Either concealed carry, or not concealed carry law.
HOLDER: Without agreeing or disagreeing with them, I think states do have those rights.
COBURN: Yes, the states do have. Will you work to protect that the states will continue to have that right?
HOLDER: Senator, yes, I guess -- I mean, in favor...
COBURN: You're making my second amendment crowd really nervous. They want to hear you say, "Yes, they have that right and they ought to be able to maintain that right." That's what they want to hear you say.
HOLDER: And I guess what I'm saying to that same crowd is that I have no intention -- this administration has no intention of doing anything that would affect a states regulation of firearms, who can carry a firearm, under what circumstances. There is nothing that we have discussed, nothing that is in planning, nothing that I can imagine that we're going to be doing in that regard, so.
LEAHY: Well, if the Senator yields to me.
COBURN: I'd be happy to.
LEAHY: Just to ask for a clarification. The State of Vermont has very simple laws on guns. During hunting season, deer hunting season, and your semi-automatic are restricted to a certain number of rounds to give the deer a chance.
We post signs outside the limits, city limits of Montpelier, our state capital, saying that if you're going to hunt deer inside the city limits of Montpelier like for example, crossing the Statehouse Lawn or something, you are limited to shotguns. That's the only place you are.
Anybody, unless they are a felon are allowed to carry a loaded concealed weapon above the certain age without a permit. Nobody does. We like the fact that we can. The vast majority of us in Vermont like myself, own numerous firearms.
Do I understand you to say you're not going to be on a crusade to have the federal government come in and override the laws of the State of Vermont?
HOLDER: That would be true. I've made and I express...
LEAHY: They are a lot less restricted than laws of Senator Coburn's state.
HOLDER: Maybe I've not expressed this well, but this is not an agenda item. It's not a focus. It's not an expectation that I have for this administration. I'm not sure how I can say it any plainer than that.
There are things that we want to do with regard to crime prevention and to reduce crime. But the concern that you have raised is not on any of the menu items that I have seen or could imagine.
COBURN: Thank you for your answers. It's not the one I wanted to hear, but thank you for the answer.
Mr. Chairman, we will submit additional questions, and thank you for being patient.
And thank you, Mr. Holder, for the fine job you've done today.
HOLDER: Thank you, Senator.
LEAHY: We will -- the witness is dismissed with our thanks.
HOLDER: Thank you.
LEAHY: And with me, you're dismissed with my admiration and my gratitude.
HOLDER: Thank you very much. I think I've been very...
LEAHY: I'm very clear I'm going to vote for you. We'll reconvene tomorrow morning with the panel at 10 o'clock in the Senate Judiciary committee hearing. With that, we stand recess.
HOLDER: Thank you, Senator.
Call the Judiciary Committee members per this entry from David.
Call and write your home Senators.
Tell them why Holder is the wrong man for this job.
Don't let the Obamessiah get this one on the cheap.
Dum spiro, pugno!