On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will resign his post and will wait until a successor is nominated and confirmed before leaving. Holder previously stated that he would likely leave by the end of the year, but the timing was certainly enough to catch some people by surprise.
On top of being the 82nd attorney general, Holder is also the first African-American to serve in the position.
According to the DOJ, Holder finalized his plans to resign in an hour-long conversation with President Obama. Since he is waiting until a successor is confirmed, he will likely remain in his post until after the midterm elections.
The media has defined Holder’s time as attorney general by the controversies he has been a central figure in. From attempting to have suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay tried on American soil, to the botched gunrunning operation known as “Fast and Furious,” battles over gay rights and voter rights, and confrontations with Republicans in Congress over the IRS scandal involving conservative organizations, Holder has been in the spotlight arguably more than any other official in the Obama administration — with the exception of the president himself.
Under old Senate rules, which would have required Holder’s successor to be confirmed with 60 votes, the current attorney general would likely have been forced to stay in his position much longer. However, since the “nuclear option” was implemented in 2013, most presidential nominations only need a simple majority.
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