Two additional U.S. Supreme Court briefs have come to light that Attorney General Eric Holder did not disclose during his confirmation process in late 2008 and early 2009, as required by a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, according to The Blog of Legal Times.
On Wednesday, a story in The National Review blasted Holder for not disclosing two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in the high-profile terrorism case of Jose Padilla that he had joined in signing.
The undisclosed briefs reported Friday, one of which related to allegations of racial bias by prosecutors in jury selection, and the other involving the timing of Miranda warnings, bring the total number of undisclosed briefs to four.
In The National Review Online story, former Deputy White House Counsel Bill Burck and Press Secretary Dana Perino criticized the Attorney General both for not listing the briefs on his Senate questionnaire, and for the content of one of the briefs, which argued that the danger of a too-powerful executive branch outweighs the risk of losing intelligence in terrorism cases prosecuted in civilian courts.
When Holder submitted his questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee in December 2008, Republicans said it was incomplete. In response, Holder supplied additional materials to the committee before his confirmation hearing in January 2009, but the four amicus briefs were not among the new materials.
Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller told Politico that “the [Padilla] brief should have been disclosed,” but had been “ unfortunately and inadvertently” left out in the documents submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee before Holder’s confirmation hearings.
At a meeting of the Judiciary Committee on Thursday Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said that it’s hard to believe the Holder simply forgot to disclose the Padilla briefs.
“Are we expected to believe that then-nominee Holder, with only a handful of Supreme Court briefs to his name, forgot about his role in one of this country’s most-publicized terrorism cases?” asked Kyl. “To me, that strains credulity, and I’m someone who voted for Attorney General Holder.”
Holder’s defenders argued that omissions are simply unavoidable when preparing the questionnaires. Former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig said that Holder should not be blamed.
“I’m sure it wasn’t Eric’s job to gather all the briefs,” Craig, now a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, told the BLT. “The notion that this was an intentional oversight is preposterous.”
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have said that they will question Holder about the omissions when he appears before them during a previously scheduled Justice Department oversight hearing on March 23.