One of President Obama’s highest-profile and longest-serving cabinet members, Attorney General Eric Holder, is prepared to step down from his post as the nation’s top law-enforcement official.
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce Thursday that he will resign after nearly six years, a Justice Department official told NBC News.Holder plans to stay on the job until a successor is confirmed, the official said.
There will reportedly be a formal event at the White House later this afternoon, when the official announcement will be made.
It’s too soon to say who the president may nominate as a successor, or when that nomination may come, though the timing matters – if Republicans win a Senate majority in the November elections, Senate Democrats may feel the need to confirm Holder’s successor quickly, during the lame-duck session, taking advantage of post-nuclear-option rules.
The alternative is a GOP-led Senate that may reject any Obama nominee to lead the Justice Department for the rest of the president’s term.
Political procedures aside, Holder is leaving the Attorney General’s office with a legacy more impressive than much of the political world generally appreciates.
Regular readers may recall that I’ve long been impressed with Holder’s progressive accomplishments, which haven’t always been front-page news, but which have made a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans.
The A.G., for example, has shown amazing leadership on the issue of LGBT rights. He’s challenged Republican restrictions on voting rights. He’s fought for sentencing reforms. He’s condemned “Stand Your Ground” laws and showed effective leadership during the crisis in Ferguson. He cleared the way for Colorado and the state of Washington to pursue marijuana legalization. He’s worked to reverse the disenfranchisement of the formerly incarcerated.
We don’t usually think of the office of Attorney General as one in which a policymaker can become one of the nation’s champions of a progressive agenda, but that’s exactly what Eric Holder has done.
This obviously isn’t to say that Holder’s tenure has been perfect – I would have liked to have seen far more Wall Street prosecutions, and congressional Republicans have demanded his impeachment on more than a few occasions for a variety of strange, perceived failings – but I’d argue Holder leaves his post as one of the most accomplished and important Attorneys General in modern American history.