Sadly, Eric Holder Jr. the best Attorney General of the United States has had in many years, announced his resignation today. Thankfully, though, Attorney General Holder plans to remain in office until his successor is confirmed. According to the New York Times,
Mr. Holder, the 82nd attorney general and the first African-American to serve in that position, had previously said he planned to leave office by the end of this year.
Particularly in President Obama's second term, Mr. Holder has been the most prominent liberal voice of the administration, leading its push for same-sex marriage and voting rights.
A senior White House official said the president was "a long way" from announcing Mr. Holder's replacement. Frequently mentioned candidates for the job include: Kathryn Ruemmler, the former White House counsel; Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts; Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.; former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island; and Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn.
The Justice Department said Mr. Holder finalized his plans to leave in an hourlong conversation with Mr. Obama at the White House over Labor Day weekend. A formal announcement was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the White House.
Mr. Holder is a former federal prosecutor and Superior Court judge in Washington and served as the deputy attorney general under Attorney General Janet Reno.
As attorney general, he has pushed to change what he sees as fundamental inequities in the criminal justice system. He told prosecutors not to seek long sentences for low-level crime, and he pushed to eliminate those sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. He has joined with liberal Democrats and libertarian-minded Republicans to advocate for the most sweeping liberalization of sentencing laws since the beginning of the War on Drugs.
Early this week, Mr. Holder announced that the federal prison population declined this year for the first time since 1980. He projected the decline would continue for the next two years.
Mr. Holder was among Mr. Obama's first nominees to the cabinet. The president-elect announced his selection on the same day he announced his choice of Hillary Rodham Clinton to be secretary of state.
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