By C.N. Staff Writer
After six years in office, the first U.S. African American Attorney General, Eric Holder, is stepping down. President Obama made the announcement in late September with Holder by his side saying he would leave the Justice Department as soon has his replacement is confirmed. Obama nominated Holder in December 2008 and he was confirmed in February 2009, shortly after taking the oath of office. Holder’s tenure as the nation’s “top cop” has been murky to say the least, as he has been the target of several Republicans who have called for his resignation. However, despite his not-so-smooth ride over the past five and a half years Holder has stayed the course and set out to reform the role of the attorney general.
Originally from East Elmhurst, Queens, New York, Holder had a resume fitting of an aspiring attorney general before assuming the role. In 1997 Holder was named the Deputy U.S. Attorney General by then President William “Bill” Clinton. He was then, as he is now, the first African American to serve in the deputy role. Prior to that appointment he had served as the U.S. Attorney for D.C., having been nominated in 1988 by former President Ronald Regan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
During a press conference with President Obama, Holder said he was “confident we’re in a good place,” referring to his office and the accomplishments he and his team have made during his tenure. U.S. Government officials said Holder has made it known that he’s wanted to leave for some time and is the fourth-longest serving U.S. Attorney General in the history and one of Obama’s longest-serving cabinet members.
His tenure has been criticized by several leading Republican’s almost immediately going on the offense, after he took office. His critics have raised concern over his handling of the alleged 9/11 plotters. Holder wanted to try to plotters in a New York courthouse, but soon reversed that decision after uproar from victims’ families, lawmaker and New York City officials.
In June 2012, House Republicans voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents linked to Fast and Furious, a so-called gun walking operation. The operation was linked to Mexico, where it is believed that roughly 2,000 guns were allowed into the country and were supposedly tracked to Mexican drug cartels. The operation blew up when two guns were found at the scene of a boarder patrol agent, Agent Brian Terry’s fatal shooting in December 2010. The guns were linked to his murder.
After learning of his resignation, Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said it is “long overdue.” And other Republican leaders shared his sentiment. House Oversight Committee Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, who lead the contempt proceedings, called Holder “the most divisive U.S. Attorney General in modern history.”