Liz Holtzman for Senate

By David Swanson

New York state could soon be represented in the U.S. Senate by a woman with more respect for and understanding of democratic representation, the Constitution, and the rule of law than we’ve grown accustomed to finding in Washington, D.C., a woman who has done more to oppose the abuses of power of the Bush administration than have most current members of the House or Senate.

Elizabeth Holtzman has asked the Governor of New York David Paterson to consider appointing her to fill a seat that may be vacated by Senator Hillary Clinton, whom President elect Obama intends to nominate for Secretary of State. I encourage you to ask everyone you know in the state of New York to contact the Governor and ask him to choose Liz.

Liz Holtzman served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was the youngest woman elected to Congress, where she quickly took a leading role in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. She served two terms as the first woman elected District Attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn) and served as the first woman elected New York City Comptroller.

Before any of that, she co-founded Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, which recruited law students to work in the civil rights movement in the South. In 1963 she worked for a civil rights lawyer in Georgia. In 1964 she interned for the NAACP and helped write a brief on the first anti-miscegenation case.

Holtzman entered Congress in 1973 and took a seat on the House Judiciary Committee, just in time to pursue the impeachment of a lawless president. She gained national attention for her work on that impeachment, and for her questioning of President Gerald Ford about his pardoning of Nixon. She then gained international attention by exposing the presence of Nazi war criminals in the United States and forcing the creation of a special Justice Department unit to bring them to justice. Holtzman led committee work and passed legislation on a wide range of issues in Congress, but in the area of justice alone it is worth noting that she co-authored the special prosecutor law and brought a lawsuit challenging Nixon’s unauthorized bombing of Cambodia.

Serving as District Attorney in Brooklyn from 1982 to 1989, Holtzman played a key role in ending racial discrimination in jury selection, led the effort to reform New York’s rape and child molestation laws, persuaded the Court of Appeals to allow prosecution for marital rape, and created the first environmental crimes bureau in the state.

I didn’t know Liz for most of this history, but I can understand how she got so much done everywhere she went, because I have seen her advocacy work during the Bush-Cheney era. She has been one of the most articulate, authoritative, persuasive, and energizing speakers, writers, and agitators against warrantless spying, torture, the occupation of Iraq, and the erosion of the rule of law in our federal government. In 2006, she published, together with Cynthia Cooper, “The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens.” Whether or not you want Bush impeached, this book is worth reading for a refreshingly different view of the law and the balance of power in our government. Here’s a video clip of Liz testifying in Congress on this topic earlier this year:

If you would like to see her in the United States Senate, please send your comments and your name and New York address to Governor David A. Paterson, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224, or call 518-474-8390 or Email at

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