Senate Republicans plan to have the son of man killed in a 1975 Puerto Rican nationalist bombing and a former FBI agent who investigated two violent groups supporting Puerto Rican independence to appear at Eric Holder's confirmation hearings, which start tomorrow, reports Politico.com. Another GOP witness is a pro-gun rights attorney from Virginia. These witnesses signal the direction that Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the ranking member of the committee, will take in trying to derail or delay confirmation for Barack Obama's attorney general pick. Specter and other Republicans, including former George Bush adviser Karl Rove, have raised concerns about whether Holder can be truly independent from the president.
They question Holder's role in President Clinton's 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich as well as Holder's involvement in Clinton's 1999 decision to grant clemency to 16 violent Puerto Rican nationalists. Holder's posssible lack of commitment to the rights of gun owners and the Second Amendment has also become a talking point for Republicans opposing his confirmation. They've arranged for the committee to hear from Stephen Halbrook, an attorney specializing in gun-rights cases.