US Attorney General Eric Holder has announced a surprise resignation, (although it had been well flagged) placing the Obama administration in the need to assemble a rapid replacement for someone to continue the President’s various legal issues.
Holder had a major contribution to play in his work with civil rights and helped shape how the Obama presidency dealt with terrorism and the law.
“He was a scrupulously good lawyer, but he also had a willingness to be bold and do what he thought was right,” said Andrew Koppelman, a Northwestern University law professor said of the Attorney General.
In his first year on the job in 2009, he received heavy resistance for his plan to try Sept. 11 terror suspects in New York as lawmakers and some victims’ families criticised the idea of giving civilian trials to alleged terrorists.
One of the earliest members of Mr. Obama’s cabinet, Mr. Holder, 63, became the nation’s first African-American attorney general and the president’s chief liberal warrior, especially on efforts to protect voter rights and end racial discrimination in the justice system.
He also emerged as the primary political antagonist for a Republican opposition in Congress that viewed him as dismissive of existing laws and contemptuous of its oversight of his department.reports the New York Times.
Nobody else in the administration, Obama included, has done nearly as much to protect and support the rights of African Americans.
That still-simmering anger among Republicans, who once voted to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress, could be a political nightmare for Mr. Obama as he searches for a replacement who can win confirmation in the Senate.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are bracing for attacks on any nominee involved in what Republicans consider scandals: political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service, the terrorist attacks on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi or the numerous executive actions by Mr. Obama circumventing Congress.
But why did Eric Holder resign?
Mr. Holder’s resignation was not a surprise; he had said previously that he planned to leave office by the end of 2014 after six years in the job.
Selecting the next attorney general is likely to be complicated by the uncertainty of the future political landscape in Washington. If Republicans take control of the Senate in the midterm elections this November, the president’s pick to replace Mr. Holder will face enormous scrutiny without support from a friendly leadership in control of the legislative agenda.