Just Hold On

It seems that Sen. Arlen Specter doesn’t want to be rushed on the Marc Holder pardon. Politico reports that Specter took to the Senate floor to hold up the train:

Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has just thrown a wrench into the Eric Holder hearings planned for early January, saying Holder’s involvement in the Marc Rich pardon is a “red flag” and a “very serious matter.”

Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) has been pushing for an early January hearing so that Holder could quickly be confirmed at Barack Obama’s attorney general and be in his office by the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Specter isn’t yet opposing the nomination, just insisting the facts be explored. This is, I think, is the correct approach. Specter is no right-wing partisan, but he is a former prosecutor with a strong sense of propriety. As I (and others ranging from Richard Cohen to the Wall Street Journal editors) have argued, there is ample reason to take a long look and ask the hard questions. Did Holder engage in unethical behavior for personal or political purposes? Was he candid when Congress investigated in 2001?