A.G. Candidate Promises To Think Hard About Crushing First Amendment Rights

On the Corner, Michael G. Franc highlights a part of the Eric Holder confirmation hearings where the prospective Attorney General dances around questions about the “fairness doctrine.”

Once:

Senator Arlen Specter: Mr. Holder, there had been suggestions for a revival of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, and my question to you is do you think that as a matter of public policy, the so-called Fairness Doctrine ought to be reinstated?

HOLDER:  Senator, that’s a toughie. I’ve not given an awful lot of thought to. If I could perhaps submit an answer to you in writing, I would have an opportunity to think about that. I wouldn’t want to commit myself to something and not give you the benefit of what is my best thinking on that.

Twice:

Sen. Jeff Sessions: So, we do have this discussion of the fairness doctrine. Do you think the government has the ability to interject itself in the free market of ideas and direct somehow that there’ll be a balance between one view and another view on the airways?

HOLDER: Well, the views I was expressing there were views that I had, as a private citizen, would not reflect what I would do if I were to confirm as attorney general. What I said in response to the question have been raised earlier about the fairness doctrine was that I just needed to know more about it before I could intelligently response to the question, but I did not mean to implicate the fairness doctrine in that speech.

Thrice:

Specter: Do you believe that a new law or regulation to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine contravenes the First Amendment?

HOLDER: If such a law or regulation comes under consideration, in (sic) confirmed as Attorney General, I will work with other agencies in the new administration and the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to reach a considered view about the constitutionality of the specific law or regulation under consideration.

And yes, four times:

Sessions: Now that you have had the opportunity to review the issue more fully, would you support such a policy [i.e., the fairness doctrine]? Would it be constitutional?

HOLDER: If a law or regulation is enacted that seeks to implement some version of the fairness doctrine, I will work with other agencies in the new administration and the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to reach a considered view about the constitutionality of the specific law or regulation under consideration.

These are easy questions. The correct answers are, “No,” “No,” “Yes,” and “No.” But Mr. Holder clearly has some other answers in mind, and he knows he can’t give a straight answer about it in a Senate confirmation hearing.

What’s even more distressing is how bad Holder is at giving evasive answers.  How many times can you answer constitutional questions with, “Oh, I don’t know, but I’ll think about it,” and still be considered cabinet material? At least be a little creative, man.  Although, with Republicans putting up so little resistance, it’s probably not worth the effort.

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