By Kathy Wray Coleman, Editor, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - By a vote of 255 for and 67 against that came along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives moved Thurs. to hold America's first Black attorney general in contempt of Congress in a document dispute pertaining to a bungled gun-tracking operation, and a majority of the Democrats walked out of the congressional chambers during the vote in a show of protest and solidarity .
Eric Holder (pictured), 61, is the first sitting attorney general and cabinet member to be held in contempt.
A former Superior Judge of the District of Columbia and prior United States Attorney, Holder was appointed to U.S. attorney general by Obama when Obama took the reigns as the first Black president of the United States in 2009.
He was also a member of Obama's vice presidential selection committee.
Republicans that pushed the contempt citation argue that Holder withheld documents that give reasons why the Obama administration initially took the position that gun walking tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious, which permits guns to be smuggled from Arizona to Mexico, are not risky.
Holder called the contempt action "a political stunt."
President Barack Obama's administration has argued that the records, allegedly some140,000 pages, are privileged because they are part of the executive branch's deliberative .
He claims that the controversial records are therefore immune to congressional scrutiny under the separation of powers.
The criminal contempt vote hands the issue to the U.S. District Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is under Holder's command.
A separate and distinct vote on civil contempt, which paves the way for the House to ask a court of competent jurisdiction to order Holder to hand over the requested documents, was undertaken by the House too.
Both votes came down the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the president's sweeping health care mandate.