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Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Upon Being Sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden
Washington, D.C. ~ Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

I want to begin by thanking Vice President Biden a good friend and a long time supporter of the Department of Justice. I want to thank those who were of such help to me in the confirmation process, especially the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Patrick Leahy. I want to thank Mark Filip, the Acting Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the great work he has done over the past year in helping to restore the Department of Justice. I look forward to working with those other leaders of the House and Senate here today. And I want to express my appreciation to my family – especially my wife and my three children- for the love they have shared these past few weeks and always. I also want to remember the man who was the guiding force in my life and who I know is with me today.

We note today not just the journey of one fortunate person but also the distance traveled by this nation and by a people. Though much ground still needs to be covered, the events of the last year signify that a new day for this nation is potentially at hand. Nowhere but in this great country could a person like me or the President hope to achieve the positions we are now so fortunate to hold.

The distance from a very small house in Queens, New York to the fifth floor of the Department of Justice is not as long as many may think. Given the advantages of the best a public school education can afford, loving parents and the opportunity to enroll in two of the nation’s premier institutions of higher learning- and with a lot of luck- the trip from East Elmhurst to DOJ is not all that improbable. And that is the wonder of America.

As I return to the institution that formed me as a lawyer I am determined to ensure that there shall be a new day for the dedicated career professionals I am once again honored to call my colleagues. There shall be no place for political favoritism, no reason to be timid in enforcing the laws that protect our rights, our environment and our principles as long as I have the opportunity to lead this great Department. This may be a break from the immediate past but it is consistent with the long history of the Department of Justice. I call on every employee of this Department - from this moment on - to return to the practices that are the foundation of this entity. It is time once again to base our actions on policies that are rooted in fairness and in a desire to ensure a more just America.

I look forward to the years ahead as we will restore the institution that is central to what is best about the American experience. With a rededication to those values that are old and yet timeless, with a welcomed obligation to future generations and with an unswerving commitment to justice for all of our people, we will remake the Department of Justice into what it was and what it must always be.

Thank you.

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