Senate OKs Holder as First Black AG

Partisan debate hinges on prosecuting agents who used torture
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2009 6:06 PM CST
Eric Holder talks to longtime friend Eric Whitaker before before Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Eric Holder won Senate confirmation today as the nation's first African-American attorney general, after supporters from both parties touted his dream resume and easily overcame Republican concerns over his commitment to fight terrorism and his willingness to back the right to keep and bear arms, the AP reports. The vote was 75-21.

The debate turned partisan in its first moments, when Sen. Patrick Leahy expressed anger that a few Republicans demanded a pledge from Holder that he wouldn't prosecute intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogations. "No one should be seeking to trade a vote for such a pledge," Leahy said. Holder becomes the only black in President Barack Obama's Cabinet.