Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday is to announce his resignation, ending nearly six, sometimes rocky years as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
A former judge and federal prosecutor, Holder was the first African-American to head the Justice Department. News organizations including CNN and National Public Radio first reported Holder’s resignation plans, which were subsequently confirmed late Thursday morning by a senior Justice Department official.
“The Attorney General has agreed to remain in his post until the confirmation of his successor,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that Holder “has discussed his plans personally with the President on multiple occasions in recent months, and finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend.”
Now 63, Holder is one of the few remaining Obama administration cabinet members who came into office at the start of Obama’s first term. He has made a mark on civil rights issues, but has also clashed repeatedly with House Republicans, and his political instincts have periodically come under question.
In June 2012, by a largely party line vote, the GOP-controlled House voted on a largely party line vote to hold Holder in contempt over his refusal to turn over documents related to the notorious Fast and Furious gun-dealing operation.
In 1997, Holder was the first African-American named as deputy attorney general. The Columbia Law School graduate previously served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and as D.C. Superior Court judge.
Holder “has no immediate plans once he steps down,”’ the Justice Department official said. “He does, however, wish to stay actively involved in some of the causes to which he has devoted his time in office (including to) continue helping to restore trust between law enforcement and minority communities.”