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Can A.G. Eric Holder Jr. Heal the Justice Department’s Wounds of the Past?

Eric Holder Jr/gov photo

Eric Holder Jr/gov photo

President Obama inherited a mess: two wars, a failing economy a sky-high anxiety level around the country, and oh yes, a Justice Department that needed serious mending.
He’s tasked Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. with reparing things at Justice. Can Holder do it?

By Michael Weisskopf
Time magazine
WASHINGTON — Eric Holder Jr. was trained long ago in crime and punishment. He grew up in the East Elmhurst section of Queens, N.Y.–so populated by cops and firefighters that rush hour looked like the shift change at a station house.
A popular teen prank was setting off the red fire-alarm box near his modest brick house on 101st Street. Nearly everyone tried it once, but not Eric, the churchgoing Boy Scout who knew the consequence of disobeying rules: “A good, quick smack on the bottom,” his mother Miriam recalls. “If you did something wrong, you’re going to have to pay a price.”
That rule guided Holder after he left Queens to become a corruption prosecutor, municipal judge and U.S. Attorney. And it will probably guide him as the nation’s 82nd Attorney General. Holder takes over a sprawling, 110,000-person Justice Department that was treated at times like a private law firm by the Bush Administration, both in its novel interpretation of the law and in the way it purged employees who did not share its political views.
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