Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation last week left the nation uncertain as to the future of our justice system or the Administration’s position going into the midterm elections.
Speculation ran wild regarding the Attorney General’s reasons for stepping down in the middle of a term and shortly before a general election. The White House’s announcement Tuesday that President Obama will not announce a new nominee for Attorney General until after the midterm elections only added to the uncertainty.
The Attorney General’s service from the beginning of the Obama Administration was marked by involvement in various controversies such as fast and furious. Now, more recently he was held in contempt of Congress.
Some argued that the resignation may serve to distance the President from the Attorney General’s controversial public image, but according to others it may create a perception of confusion or indecision in the face of the midterm elections.
A leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized the decision as a tactic to hide the President’s agenda from voters. “This timing shows, once again, that the President and Democrat Senate leaders are willing to play politics with important policy decisions,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“First it was immigration, and now Senate Democrats have asked the President to delay his announcement for Attorney General so they can avoid making clear to the voters of their states where they stand on what could be a controversial choice for Attorney General,” he said.
If the President waits until after the midterms to nominate a replacement, he will have time to see the makeup of the Senate which will have to approve his nominee.
The White House said it hopes that waiting until after the election will prevent the confirmation process from becoming mired in election-year politics. This strategy would also require the President to have his nominee approved by a Senate that may, by that time, become hostile.
The Administration remains optimistic that it can do so. “There is a precedent for presidents making important Cabinet nominations and counting on Congress to confirm them promptly, even in the context of a lame-duck session, if necessary,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
According to The Hill, this effort may become even more difficult if Republicans take control of the Senate through the midterm elections.