Remarks of Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Deputy Attorney General

Swearing-in of John Marshall

Arlington, Virginia

February 1, 2000

Thank you, Senator Robb, and thank you Louie for that kind introduction.

John, today is certainly a happy day for you and for your entire family. It is also a very happy day for the men and women of the United States Marshals Service. As the oldest Federal law enforcement agency in the Nation, the service's history is in essence the history of this great Nation.

I can think of no finer person to lead the Marshals Service into the new Millennium. John, you bring all the attributes America should seek in its leaders. You are a career law enforcement officer who knows what really happens out on our streets. You are also a proven manager and, more important, a proven leader. You know that the women and men of the U.S. Marshals Service are public servants who put their lives on the line every day in many, many places so that the rest of us can live our lives as safely as is possible.

To Mrs. Marshall, your wife Jean, daughters Melonie and Cecilia, your granddaughter Breaunna Marie and of course your brother, and now administration colleague, Goodie, all my best wishes on this very happy occasion.

On a day like today we must also look to the future. The Marshals Service mission is changing. First, the realities of our time are such that we need to take precautions to make certain that our courts and the judges who sit in them are safe. By protecting the courts, you protect a fundamental right guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution, the right to seek redress of grievances. Many of us in this room remember the days when court security meant an information desk. It is unfortunate that magnetometers are common in our courthouses today, but they are the physical reaction to the very real threats that we face.

Second, once the custodian of vessels seized in admiralty proceedings, the Marshals Service is now a key partner in our asset forfeiture program, designed to assure that criminals are stripped of the profits of their crimes and that the proceeds of their crimes are returned to the taxpayers.

Third, throughout our history, the Marshals Service has served to assure that our Constitution has real meaning. When the courts have ordered schools desegregated, it has been U.S. Marshals who have served the orders and acted to enforce them. When a person has sought to exercise a right under the Constitution, it is the Marshals Service that traditionally has assured that that person was protected and treated fairly. That responsibility remains.

John, I look forward to working with you and all of the men and women of the United States Marshals Service. You are a tough, fair law enforcement officer, a leader and a model for the 21st Century Marshals Service. This is a day too long in coming. We are fortunate to have you with us.

It is now my honor to introduce my boss, a person whose strength, integrity and absolute commitment to do the right thing makes her a great leader, Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States.