(AP) — Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration’s legal fight against terrorism and weighed in on issues of racial fairness, 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 would announce Holder’s departure later Thursday and that Holder planned to remain at the Justice Department until his successor was in place. White House officials said Obama had not made a final decision on a replacement for Holder, who was one of the most progressive voices in his Cabinet.
Advisers to Obama and Holder said the attorney general had been planning his departure with the president for some time. Some possible candidates who have been discussed among administration officials include Solicitor General Don Verrilli, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island attorney general.
Holder, a 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 tenure as the country’s top law enforcement official. He is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history.