Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Meet the Attorney General

In remarks to Department of Justice employees this morning, newly confirmed Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “We must use every available tactic to defeat our adversaries – and we must do so within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. There is not a tension between the ideals that formed this nation and that which we must do to keep it safe.”

Yet, during his confirmation hearing, Holder declared waterboarding, an interrogation technique considered legal under his predecessor Michael Mukasey, to be torture.

This change in interpretation is only the beginning of the review that Bush administration policies will undergo by Mr. Holder, the 82nd attorney general of the United States and the first African American attorney general in United States history.

Classroom Activity Ideas:

Ask your students to research the most controversial legal and civil liberties issues that the Justice Department will likely address under Holder’s direction.

Use the National Constitution Center’ Town Hall Wall: Spy Story to stimulate a classroom debate on whether the President has the authority to order domestic surveillance without a court-issued warrant in times of war.

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