University Hosts Installation of 82nd Attorney General Eric Holder
The University hosted a series of distinguished guests for Eric Holders installation as the 82nd U.S. Attorney General on Friday March 27th in Lisner Auditorium. President Barack Obama, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Ethel Kennedy came to the ceremony, which included remarks by President Obama before the official installation.
Before Obama began his remarks, he noted that Holder once challenged the President to a basketball game in the press, saying that Obama may not be ready for his "New York game." Obama responded to the laughter of audience members, "We will see about that, Mr. Attorney General."
Obama continued on to praise Holder for qualities that would make the ideal candidate for "the American people's lawyer." He said, "I sought someone who recognizes the very real threats we faced but has the wisdom in those hard-to-call cases to find that fine balance between ensuring our security and preserving our liberty."
Following the President's remarks, Holder thanked him, noting that Obama is "never going to see my New York game." In his speech, Holder pledged to lead the Justice Department by the principles set out in the Constitution. "When American generations look back now on the work that we will do, let us strive to ensure that they will say that we kept the faith and that we made a superb Justice Department even greater."
Ten law students attended the event, among them 2L Rebecca Bianchi who said of the early-morning ceremony, "It was a very special experience to witness such a historic event. It was definitely worth getting up early for!"
3L Brett Sheats imparted, "Being able to attend an event like this once again underscores the special opportunities a student can enjoy by attending GW Law." Sheats noted that he heard Obama speak in Lisner Auditorium once before when Obama was a senator. "He, along with Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John Edwards spoke about the role of faith in their lives and their campaigns. At this event, "President Obama showed that his strong performance at that forum was no fluke with another inspiring and enjoyable speech at this event."
According to Office of University Relations, Holder received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from GW in 1998. He also was a GW trustee from 1996 to 1997, and served as a member of the GW Homeland Security Policy Institute Steering Committee.