Eric Holder Questions Stand-Your-Ground Laws

State Department

Attorney General Eric Holder echoed President Obama on Wednesday, calling for a national dialogue on violence and communities. But he also veered away from the president's initial message of taking the middle ground. He spoke against the "stand-your-ground" laws like the one a Florida jury used to acquit George Zimmerman.

"It's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Holder said at the NAACP convention in Orlando. "These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if—and the 'if' is important—no safe retreat is available."

He added later, "We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence."

Since Martin's shooting and Zimmerman's acquittal over the weekend, activists have called for justice in the case and for a change in laws. This might be the first step in the Obama administration's response. The Justice Department has already said it is launching an investigation into the Martin case, although the White House won't give further details.

During his speech, Holder also warned against violent altercations with law enforcement in the aftermath of the trial.

Another subject Holder addressed was voting rights. Many civil-rights leaders have worried that in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, Congress wouldn't follow through with setting standards for the Voting Rights Act. But Holder pushed Congress, touting its importance.

"Quite simply, Congress must take steps to ensure that every eligible American has equal access to the polls," Holder said. "We will not hesitate to take aggressive action, using every tool that remains available to us, against any jurisdiction that attempts to take advantage of the Supreme Court's ruling by hindering eligible citizens' free and fair exercise of the franchise."

Here are Holder's full remarks.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.