Byron York writes:
Last January, several Republican legal stars wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting Eric Holder’s nomination to be attorney general. Now, in light of Holder’s decision to grant 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed full American constitutional rights and try him in federal court in New York, some of those veteran lawyers are having second thoughts.
The January letter called Holder an “extraordinary lawyer” of “unfailing integrity” who is “superbly qualified” to lead the Justice Department and whose appointment as the first African-American attorney general “should be hailed as a milestone.” “From his experience Eric fully understands and appreciates the constant threat posed by al Qaeda and Islamic extremists,” the GOP lawyers wrote. “[He] is the right man at the right time to protect our citizens in the critical years ahead.”
The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decision, in which Holder abandoned the carefully-constructed military tribunal system in favor of a risky prosecution in civilian court, troubles some of the Republicans who once supported Holder. “If the decision was his, and he made the decision and told the president, then I have some real qualms about my support for him,” says Makan Delrahim, a former Justice Department official and former staff director of the Judiciary Committee. “I personally have a tough time knowing the rationale for this. We spent so much time making the military tribunals conform to constitutional standards to deal with exactly this type of situation.”
Holder says the decision was indeed his.