NPR has reported that Eric Holder has announced his intent to resign from his post of Attorney General. Holder will remain in his position until his successor is confirmed.
“A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term,” Carrie Johnson wrote.
Holder has served as Attorney General since 2009, and is the nation’s first African-American to hold that post, and is the fourth-longest serving person in that position.
The report says that:
Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affectminorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.
And then, there’s his relationship with Congress. From the day Holder’s nomination was announced, Republicans led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled he would be a political lightning rod.
The attorney general’s portfolio, which spans sensitive law enforcement cases and hot button social issues including marijuana and gay marriage, didn’t help. But even longtime aides say Holder didn’t do enough to help himself by shrugging off preparations and moot sessions before congressional appearances and speaking off the cuff — and obliquely.
Things hit a crisis point when the GOP-led House voted him in contempt for refusing to hand over documents about a gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious. That represented the first time an attorney general had ever been rebuked that way but still Holder held onto his job.
In the end, the decision to leave was Holder’s alone — the two sources tell NPR 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 President Obama discussed his departure several times and finalized things in a long meeting over Labor Day weekend at the White House.
It is unclear what Holder plans to do next, but it is speculated that he may return to his previous law firm of Covington & Burling, or open a civil rights center to “work more on law enforcement interactions with communities of color and host public forums on those issues.”
The process of confirming a successor could run through 2014 and into 2015.