Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

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Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

One of the longest-serving AG's to ever hold the position, Holder was the first African-American to be the nation's top law enforcement official

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation on Thursday.

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation on Thursday, the Department of Justice has confirmed.

Having served under President Obama for nearly six years, Holder was the nation's first African-American to hold the post as the nation's top prosecutor and currently the fourth-longest serving AG in the nation's history. Holder is expected to remain in the position until a replacement is announced by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

NPR was the first to report the news:

...the decision to leave was Holder's alone — the two sources tell NPR that the White House would have been happy to have him stay a full eight years and to avoid what could be a contentious nomination fight for his successor. Holder and Obama discussed his departure several times and finalized things in a long meeting over Labor Day weekend at the White House.

The attorney general told DOJ staff the news this morning and has called civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former AG Robert F. Kennedy.

The sources say a leading candidate for that job is Solicitor General Don Verrilli, the administration's top representative to the Supreme Court and a lawyer whose judgment and discretion are prized in both DOJ and the White House.

Friends and former colleagues say Holder has made no decisions about his next professional perch, but they say it would be no surprise if he returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients.

On aspects of his legacy, the Washington Post reports:

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

In the first year of his tenure, Holder was widely criticized by Republicans and some Democrats for his plan to try professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged co-conspirators in New York. The plan was doomed by political opposition to granting civilian criminal trials to terrorist suspects, who arguably would have had greater legal protections in civilian courts than in military commissions. The attorney general gave up the effort, but je continued to maintain that civilian courts were the most appropriate venue. He argued that his original plan was vindicated by the successful prosecution in New York of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law.

Under his watch, the Justice Department cracked down on news media reporting on national security matters. The department secretly subpoenaed phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors and used a search warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist as part of a separate leak investigation.

On matters of policy, Holder spoke frankly about how his upbringing — his father emigrated from Barbados and his sister-in-law helped integrate the University of Alabama — helped shape his thinking. He even referred to America in 2010 as a “nation of cowards” in discussing matters of race. He later lamented that “systemic and unwarranted racial disparities remain disturbingly common.”

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