Hillary, East Elmhurst's Holder Face Grilling At Confirmation Hearings
With U.S. Senator wannabes anxiously watching, Senator Hillary Clinton went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing as U.S. Secretary of State.
Both Democrats and Republicans on the panel said they expected no problem in Clinton being cleared for the important post. Once she is confirmed, New York Governor David Paterson has promised to waste no time announcing his pick as Clinton's replacement.
That would end all the speculation as to whether Caroline Kennedy or New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be the choice.
Among other possibilities are Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velasquez, who is also Hispanic.
Of particular interest to Queens political watchers and East Elmhurst residents is Thursday's confirmation hearing for East Elmhurst-raised Eric Holder Jr., who has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be the first black U.S. Attorney General in history.
Unlike Clinton, Holder is expected to get a much more serious vetting by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 57-yearold attorney formerly held an assistant attorney general position under President Bill Clinton and was deeply involved in the president's controversial pardoning of financier Marc Rich, who at the time was a fugitive from justice.
However, according to media reports, the Judiciary Committee is equally interested in Holder's work as a private attorney in Washington before and after his stint in the AG's office during Clinton's term. Holder, 57, is expected to be questioned extensively about potential conflicts of interest that may arise from some of the clients he represented in his private practice.
Holder's family still resides in East Elmhurst. They and other neighbors, including Borough President Helen Marshall, will likely be rooting hard for holder to be confirmed.—John Toscano