Transcript: Holder's Opening Statement at Senate Hearing

CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, January 15, 2009; 12:20 PM

ATTORNEY GENERAL APPOINTEE ERIC HOLDER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Specter, and members of the Judiciary Committee. I am deeply honored to appear before you today.

In five days, just a short distance from his historic room, the next president of the United States will take the oath of office. He will swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I have been asked by him to serve as attorney general, the Cabinet officer who is the guardian of that revered document. I feel the full weight of this responsibility. If confirmed by the Senate, I pledge to you and to my fellow citizens that I will faithfully execute my duties as attorney general of the United States of America. I will do so by adhering to the precepts and principles of the Constitution. And I will do so in a fair, just, and independent manner. This is the fourth time I have come before the Senate for confirmation to a position in law enforcement. I served almost 30 years as a prosecutor, judge, and senior official within the Department of Justice.

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden asked me to assume this responsibility because they know I will fight terrorism with every available tool at my disposal and reinvigorate the department's traditional missions of protecting public safety and safeguarding our precious civil rights.

I accept their trust in me and, with your support, I intend to lead an agency that is strong, independent, and worthy of the name the Department of Justice. Now, I could not have arrived at this moment without the sacrifice and example of so many others.

I begin, of course, by recognizing the support of my family who you've just met. My wife Sharon, a respected professional in her own right, has put up with a lot over the years because of my demanding work. And she has done so with the love and grace that characterizes all that she does.

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