Holder: I'm Proud to be an Activist

"Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job."

Attorney General Eric Holder told Fox News contributor Juan Williams that he is proud to wear the activist label.

Williams spoke with Holder after a speech to criminal defense lawyers in Philadelphia on the one-year anniversary of his "Smart on Crime" initiative. 

For The Hill, Williams writes:

Despite his bridge-building, the first black attorney general serving the first black president remains critical of how conservatives managed the Justice Department during the Bush Administration.

'In the years, I think, before I came to the attorney general’s office the department lost its way,' he said.

'There are still [racial] issues we as a society are working our way through,' Holder said. 'And the lack of desire to do that, I think, undermines the ability that I think is inherent in the American people to make progress. But it also does not prepare us for demographic changes, the likes of which this country has never seen.'

Holder remains indifferent to conservative protests that he is an ‘activist’ looking for trouble by digging into what he calls 'policies [with] disproportionate impact on communities of color.'

'If you want to call me an activist attorney general, I will proudly accept that label,' he said. 'Any attorney general who is not an activist is not doing his or her job. The responsibility of the attorney general is to change things [and] bring us closer to the ideals expressed in our founding documents.'

Williams said Holder "famously stirred white conservative anger" over his comments about America being a "nation of cowards." After the GOP voted to find Holder in contempt over Fast and Furious, Williams publicly asked: “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?" That was a question Williams said "had a particular potency given his status as the only black person ever to hold the post."

Williams notes that the attorney general is now working with those same Republicans to address America's burdened prison population listing Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

Holder was quoted from another interview about the GOP's actions against him, saying, “They did what they did and I disagree with it, but at the end of the day… from my perspective, my legacy… as people try to decide ‘What kind of attorney general was this guy?’ I think they will focus more on what it is we did during my time, as opposed to fights I had with Congress.”

As for Williams, he predicts Holder will stick around at his current post:

As I was leaving, Holder said he will speak with his wife and President Obama before deciding whether or not to remain for the last two years of the current administration.

To my eyes, he looks like a man with new energy, not like a man ready to leave his job.