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WASHINGTON (AP) — Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration’s legal fight against terrorism and pushed to make the criminal justice system more even-handed, is resigning after six years on the job. He is the nation’s first black attorney general.

The White House said that President Barack Obama planned to announce Holder’s departure later Thursday. The White House said Holder plans to remain at the Justice Department until his successor is in place.

The 63-year-old former judge and prosecutor took office in early 2009 as the U.S. government grappled with the worst financial crisis in decades and with divisive questions on the handling of captured terrorism suspects, issues that helped shape his six-year tenure as the country’s top law enforcement official. He is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history.

He also weighed in on matters of racial fairness, taking steps to improve police relations with minorities, enforce civil rights laws and remove racial disparities in sentencing. Most recently he became the Obama administration’s face in the federal response to the police shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. In the shooting’s aftermath, he enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement.

In his first few years on the job, Holder endured a succession of firestorms over, among other things, an ultimately-abandoned plan to try terrorism suspects in New York City, a botched gun-running probe along the Southwest border that prompted Republican calls for his resignation, and what was seen as failure to hold banks accountable for the economic meltdown.

But he stayed on after President Barack Obama won re-election, turning in his final stretch to issues that he said were personally important to him. He promoted voting rights and legal benefits for same-sex couples and pushed for changes to a criminal justice system that he said meted out punishment disproportionately to minorities.

NPR was first to report his departure.

Stung by criticism that the department hadn’t been aggressive enough in targeting financial misconduct, Holder in the past year and a half secured criminal guilty pleas from two foreign banks and multi-billion-dollar civil settlements with American banks arising from the sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities during the economic meltdown. Even then, critics noted that no individuals were held accountable.

A former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, Holder was pulled away from private practice to reshape a Justice Department that had been tarnished by a scandal involving fired U.S. attorneys and that had authorized harsh interrogation methods for terrorism suspects.

He immediately signaled a new direction for the incoming administration by declaring that waterboarding is torture, contrary to the George W. Bush administration’s insistence that it wasn’t.

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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(Photo Source: AP)

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19 thoughts on “White House: Holder Resigning As Attorney General

  1. Allie Black on said:

    I’m stunned that AG Holder is resigning. He is the best AG the USA ever had. I have a lot of administration, respect, honor, value, confidence, love, fair, honest, highly intelligent, assertive, focused, talented, well liked, articulate, sharp, well dressed, handsome, wonderful personality, understood what was happening, he cared, made a difference, compassion, empathy and remarkable highly favored, blessed, prosperous victorious gentleman. Thank you AG Holder for all you did daily for all of God’s children. I’m so honor and proud of you. God’s blessings, favors, love and thanks is with you and your loved ones daily. So Grateful to God for you.

  2. Without Attorney General Holder, the pathway to racial justice by the department of justice will be derailed. He was strong and honest enought to shine light onto the duplicity of our policing practices around the country. It is my opinion that HE was the best thing this administration has done in 6 years. Mr. Holder you will be SORELY missed

  3. seriously on said:

    Mr. Holder has been ready to resign since the President last election. Mr. Holder stayed this long because the President asked him to and this man has been unfairly treated, totally disrespected and some outright hostility from the tea bag and right wingnuts. He has handled himself as a intelligent, refined, experience gentlemen the whole time. I wish him well and he hung in there tough with all the obstacles thrown in his way. Mr. Holder they cannot touch you in intelligence…..which is why they tried to bring you down…couldn’t do it…But thank you for your service to our President

  4. He’s probably tired of the overall Bullsh@#. He’s also probably ready to do something different; afterall he’s been around a long time; even worked under the Clinton administration. In reality we don’t REALLY know the full story. It’s just like anything else…..the truth usually stays behind closed doors.

  5. Ha, Republicans can’t win an election fair and square. They keep coming up with voter tactics to keep blacks and Hispanics from voting. However, “no weapon formed against you, shall prosper.”

    After all, cheating, lying and stealing is the white American way!

    Hopefully, there is no negative reasoning behind Eric Holder’s resignation. May the future hold the best for him and his family.

  6. THEY were friends before the Presidency, it’s never a good idea to work for your friend. In the end they just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Enjoy your life Attorney General Holder, again I can’t wait to read your upcoming “Tell Tell” Book…..wink-wink.

  7. There were friends before the Presidency, it’s never a good idea to work for your friend. In the end they just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Enjoy your life Attorney General Holder, again I can’t wait to read your upcoming “Tell Tell” Book…..wink-wink.

  8. After the 2008 Election, AG Holder and Pres. Obama clashed when AG Holder openly and honestly admitted there was a racial problem in America. At that time Pres. Obama told him “basically shut the hell up” and not to mention it ever again. Maybe AG Holder is sick and tired of Pres. Obama going against his honesty and can’t handle the truth coming from AG Holder. Best Wishes Attorney General Holder and I can’t wait to read your “Tell Tell” book.

  9. I’m at a loss for words to rightfully show my “WOW” – why now – why not wait until after mid-term elections, what more can it be (and believe me there is more – there always is). I pray for the potus every single day and today is no different.

  10. Timekeeper on said:

    Before speculating, I am confident that Obama and Holder had a heart to heart conversation well before this announcement. Yes, there are some real minority issues he was, and is dealing with. I have no doubt whomever replaces him will have that same mandate. I will miss him, Yes, because he is the first AG that took the right wing on and told the TRUTH! There is always more than meets the eye when these things happen, but I really think he is sick and tired of the B—S—T. e has done among others, a real good thing. And that is finally getting the judicial system to take a look at these ridiculous long sentences that should never have happened and some of them getting out of prison, Finally!

    • @Time: Yeah we need to keep our eyes on the prize. Holder has done a lot, and doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done. Especially in regards to unfair prison sentencing.

  11. momosity on said:

    This sucks. I wish he was staying on for the full 8 years of Obama’s Presidency. I’ve never been prouder of this country than when we elected and then re-elected Mr. Obama, and I was thrilled when Mr. Holder was picked to be our Attorney General. He’s from my part of Maryland so I’ve been rooting for him for years. If the GOTPers are somehow responsible, it’s going to get ugly.

  12. Babyboomer on said:

    I am truly sorry to see AG Holder leave. He and the President worked so well together, even though they met opposition on every hand. I hope the President selects a strong replacement although filled AG Holder’s shoes will be a tall order…

  13. bod adams on said:

    Come on folks, to me there is something more to this story that is not written. There is an un seen political move or something being played out here. Holder got involved in the Ferguson situation but just as important if not more important he also got involved in voter rights. For him to resign before an election doesn’t sit well with me, did Koch brothers money push him out ? Something is going on here, republican’s need to restrict blacks and Hispanics from voting or they can’t win, Holder was fighting to make sure that blacks and Hispanic’s get to vote and before a major election he resigns, I don’t buy it.

  14. Awe, I’m sorry to hear that! I hope the President will get someone to replace him who is even stronger in terms of standing up to those racist, mean-spirited, Loser Republicans!

  15. AG Holder will be sorely missed–he dared to speak the TRUTH which is why he is no doubt resigning, due to pressure from RIGHT WING groups in this country!!!!!—-

    There are many more issues that need to be addressed by the Dept. of Justice, so whoever the Prez selects to replace Mr. Holder will certainly have their hands full!!!!!

    Kudos to Mr. Holder for a job well done!!!!!!!!!!

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