Remarks by the President at the Installation of Attorney General Eric Holder - Black Enterprise

Remarks by the President at the Installation of Attorney General Eric Holder

THE PRESIDENT: I am proud to be here today for the installation of my friend, Eric Holder, as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States. (Applause.)

I want to recognize our Deputy Attorney General, David Ogden, for his outstanding service to this department, both in this tour of duty, and in his last. Where did David go? He was here just a second ago. (Laughter.) Here he is. Come on out here. That’s David. (Applause.) I’d like to thank Special Agent Earl Camp for starting things off with the Pledge of Allegiance and for his tremendous sacrifice for this nation. Thanks also to members of Congress who have joined us, to President Steven Knapp for hosting us, and to Judge Robert Richter for administering the oath. Thank you very much.

I also want to welcome Eric’s entire family, who is here today. Like me, Eric married up — (laughter and applause) — and we are grateful to his extraordinary wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, and their children — Brooke, Maya and Eric — for sharing him with all of us. So, Sharon, thank you. Thank you, guys. (Applause.)

There are few more important jobs in our nation’s government than that of Attorney General. As President, I swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. And as Eric himself has said, it is the Attorney General who serves as “the guardian of that revered document” that is the basis of our laws and the driving force of our democracy.

And that’s what’s always distinguished this nation — that we are bound together not by a shared bloodline or allegiance to any one leader or faith or creed, but by an adherence to a set of ideals. That’s the core notion of our founding — that ours is a “government of laws, and not men.” It is the motto inscribed on the library of my law school alma mater: “Not under man but under God and law.”

But today, as we install the man charged with upholding our laws, we are reminded that the work of translating law into justice — of ensuring that those words put to paper more than two centuries ago mean something for all of our people — that is a fundamentally human process.

It is what so many of you — the men and women of our Justice Department — do every single day: keeping us safe from terrorist attacks; bringing to justice those who would do us harm; rooting out corruption and fighting violent crime; protecting our markets from manipulation and our environment from pollution; and upholding our most fundamental civil rights.

That’s why I sought to appoint an Attorney General who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook — it’s about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives: whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their own homes and welcome in their own nation.