Eric Holder becomes first black US attorney general

February 3rd, 2009 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 3 (IANS) Eric Holder Tuesday became the first black US attorney general with the promise of a clean break with the policies of the Bush administration, saying he would make the Justice Department what it should be.Arriving at the Justice Department to a thunderous round of applause to be sworn in as America’s top law enforcement officer, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General Holder said he was committed to remaking the department “into what it once was and what it always should be.”

Holder, 58, officially seized the reins of a department battered and demoralised by a series of controversies during the Bush administration, from questions about how it laid the legal groundwork for harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists to the sackings of top federal prosecutors in several cities.

“It’s a new day,” Holder said to hundreds of enthusiastic political and career employees lining the hallways and staircases to greet their once and future boss. “It’s great to be back.

“There shall be no place for political favouritism, no reason to be timid in enforcing the laws that protect our rights, our environment and our principles as long as I have the opportunity to lead this great department,” he added shortly after being sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.

“This may be a break with the immediate past, but it is consistent with the long history of the Department of Justice.”

Biden said the department, under Holder, would return to a past standard of “no politics, no ideology. Only a clear assessment of facts and law”.

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