ORLANDO (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder touted the Obama administration’s commitment to civil rights at a conference of Hispanic advocates Thursday in Orlando, but he made no direct mention of a historic House of Representatives vote to hold him in contempt.
Holder’s address to the League of United Latin American Citizens at a Walt Disney World resort took place just a few hours before House members voted to hold him in contempt for refusing to turn over documents. The documents relate to a bungled gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious. It was the first time a sitting Cabinet member has been held in contempt.
“It’s good to be here and not to be in Washington, D.C., right now,” Holder said, in the only reference to the House action.
During his speech, Holder hailed the Justice Department’s commitment to civil rights under the Obama administration. He was cheered when he cited his agency’s lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona alleging civil rights violations.
Holder also promised to enforce provisions against discrimination following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that police officers can question people’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. The court ruled in a lawsuit that had challenged the constitutionality of Arizona’s strict law aimed at curbing illegal immigration.
The House’s approval of the criminal contempt resolution now sends the matter to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who is under Holder.