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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Investiture of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade


Detroit, MI
United States

Thank you, Saul. You have been a good friend for many years and a great public servant for many more. We are all here today to welcome a new leader to an office that you so ably directed just a few years ago. It’s good to be with you and to be among so many colleagues, friends, distinguished guests and proud family members. It’s especially good to be here with one of our nation’s finest and most committed public servants, Senator Carl Levin.

Today, we celebrate a milestone in Barb McQuade’s remarkable career. And we commemorate an historic moment for the Eastern District of Michigan.

It’s my pleasure, and my honor, to be here and to witness the administration of the oath of office to Detroit’s first female U.S. Attorney. This is a great day for our new United States Attorney but it is also a great day for this city and for our nation. Another barrier has been broken, another ceiling has been shattered. This is a day that I’m glad Barb’s young daughter, Kate, is here to share. This is a special day for her as well and for all the young women who can, by Barb’s example, dare to dream just a little more tonight.

I’m certain that Barb will be a strong addition to the U.S. Attorney community that President Obama and I are constructing. Barbara McQuade is first and foremost a great lawyer. And I’m confident that she will fulfill her new responsibilities with the same energy, integrity and dedication that have characterized her 11 years of service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in this office.

When I met with Barb last year to talk about her assuming this position, she immediately impressed me. She obviously possessed a deep understanding of complex legal and national security issues, and evinced an unwavering faith in the justice system that she has spent a career serving. But I was also struck by Barb’s faith in her colleagues here in the Eastern District of Michigan, and her conviction that this office could play an important role in addressing the challenges facing Southeastern Michigan. I share that conviction. I have that same faith in the people of this office.

Barb is decisive. She is optimistic. And I know that she has both the vision and the experience necessary to lead this office in its critically important work.

Already, Barb has risen to meet the challenges facing this District. On Christmas Day, less than 24 hours after her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Northwest Airlines Flight 253 landed in Detroit. In that moment, Barb wasn’t just called to act. She was called upon to lead.

In the aftermath of that attempted attack, Barb has been charged with overseeing the very important prosecution that has resulted. And she’s impressed me once again. She has enlisted the cooperation of the Justice Department’s law enforcement partners at every level. And she is insuring that her office will be able to present the strongest case possible.

Under Barb’s leadership, I know that a great U.S. Attorney’s Office will become even better. I’m glad to see so many members of this office here today. In the coming months, you will tackle some of the most critical and complex legal issues facing our country. You will be called on to improve public safety, to fight those who would do our nation harm, to focus on stopping economic crimes, to continue your productive outreach efforts to our partners in the Muslim and Arab-American communities, to strengthen your relationships with local law enforcement, and – above all – to ensure that justice is pursued and administered in a fair and impartial manner.

As you work to fulfill these critical responsibilities, know that you have the unwavering support of the Justice Department’s senior leadership -- starting with me and with your new United States Attorney. And I know that you will, in the tradition of this superb office, succeed in your mission

Barb, I congratulate you on your appointment. I thank you for enthusiastically accepting this opportunity to serve. And I look forward to continuing our work together.

Now, your Honor, on behalf of the United States, it’s my privilege to move that you administer the Oath of Office to Barbara McQuade to be the next United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Updated March 31, 2022