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Eric Holder Admitting He Didn’t Read Arizona Immigration Law — Transcript

Sun May 16 2010 5:03 pm
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The Attorney General tells Jake Tapper he worries the Arizona bill will lead to profiling and cause people not to cooperate with police … even though the bill specifically prohibits profiling AND strictly prohibits police from asking about immigration status during a police investigation.

House Judiciary Committee/JKustice Department Oversight: C-SPAN coverage of Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) questioning Attorney General Eric Holder about his knowledge of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (commonly known as the Arizona Immigration Law).

POE: I understand that you [Holder] may file a lawsuit against the law (Arizona’s immigration law). Seems to me the administration ought to be enforcing border security and immigration laws and not challenge ’em. And that the administration is on the wrong side of the American people. [TO Attorney General Eric Holder] Have you read the Arizona law?

HOLDER: Uh, I have not had a chance to … I’ve glanced at it … I’ve not read it … Um.

POE: It’s ten pages. It’s a lot shorter than the health care bill, which was 2,000 pages long. I’ll give you my copy of it if you would like to have a copy. Uh, even though you haven’t read the law, you have an opinion as to whether its constitutional?

HOLDER: Ah, I’ve not really … I’ve not been briefed yet, um. We, as I’ve said have had underway a review of the law. I’ve not been briefed by the people who have been responsible … who are responsible for that review.

POE: Are you gonna read the law?

HOLDER: I am sure I will read the law in anticipation of that briefing. I know that they will put that in front of me and I will spend a good evening reading that law.

POE: Well I’ve gone through it and it’s pretty simple. It takes the federal law and makes it … uh … and makes it an action in the state statue, although it makes it much more … uh … refined … that it actually says in one of the sections that no state or subdivision may consider race, color, national origin in implementing the requirements of any subsection of this law. It seems to outlaw racial profiling in the law … I know there’s been a lot of media hype about the legislation … uh … Do you see a difference in the constitutionality of a statute and the constitutionality of the application of the that statute. Do you see there’s a difference in those two?

HOLDER: There’s a potential for challenging a law on its face, and then challenging a law as it is applied. So there are two bases for challenging a particular statute.

POE: And uh … When do you think you will have an opinion as to whether the law is constitutional.

HOLDER: Um I’ve used this term a lot but I think this is accurate … I think relatively soon. Um I think that we have to uh … there’s been much discussion about this … uh … the review is underway — the Department of Justice along with the Department of Homeland Security is involved in this review and I would expect that our view of the law will be expressed relatively soon.

POE: You have some concerns about the statute and it’s hard for me to understand and how you would have concerns about something being unconstitutional if you haven’t even read the law. It seems like you wouldn’t make a judgment about whether it violates civil rights statutes, whether it violates federal preemption concepts if you haven’t read the law. So. Can you help me out there a little bit? … how you can make a judgment call on that, but you haven’t read the law and determined whether its constitutional or not.

HOLDER: What I’ve said is that I have not make up my mind. I’ve only made the comments that I’ve made on the basis thing that I’ve been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel … or on the review team that are looking at the law. But I’ve not reached any conclusions as yet with regard to … I’m just expressed concerns on the basis of what I’ve heard about the law, but I’m not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with the people who are doing the review, exactly what my position is.


Joy Behar: We’re gonna judge you by how you look and throw you in jail.

Obama (April 27, 2010/Ottumwa, Iowa): If you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re gonna be harassed.

Olbermann: Mandate racial profiling.

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