Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general is set to announce his resignation Thursday.
Two sources familiar with the decision say Holder intends the leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed.
A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear that he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.
Holder already is one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet and ranks as the fourth-longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, in early February 2009 to witness his return to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.
But some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder’s own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussions about racial tension.
Five years later, violence erupted between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after a white policeman killed an unarmed black 18-year-old. And this time, the White House dispatched Holder to speak his piece, in effect jump-starting that conversation and helping to settle nerves in the frayed community.
The attorney general’s portfolio spans sensitive law enforcement cases and several social issues including marijuana and gay marriage.
The decision to leave was Holder’s alone — according the NPR. Reports say that the White House would have been happy to have him stay a full eight eight years.
So far, there is no word on watch Holder will do next in terms of his political and professional career.
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