We learned today of the resignation of US AG Eric Holder:
Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans in Congress.
Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. 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’s work on Civil Rights was outstanding, but he was also beholden to the status quo when it came to people with power: Holder never found a single person to prosecute for Wall Street’s criminal looting of the global economy, and never brought charges against the admitted war criminals of the Bush Administration.
I’m not sure we would notice the difference if he left today, which is probably a good thing: it is unlikely that the Republicans would approve a replacement, especially if they gain control of the Senate in 2014 as many pundits are predicting.
Paul Constant at the SLOG says it so much better than I ever could.
I didn’t have one single reaction upon reading this morning that Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning… Holder has a spotty record on civil liberties—he’s taken heat from both the left and the far right as an enemy of freedom of the press and a fearsome enforcer when it comes to whistleblowers. He let Wall Street and the big banks trample the middle class. He deserves all that criticism—Holder has done a lot to keep George W. Bush’s paranoid, power-obsessed America alive for another eight years—but he’s taken a lot of criticism that he doesn’t deserve, too. The New York Times, for instance, describes Holder as a “lightning rod” for “partisan venom,” which is a decidedly mixed metaphor that somehow works perfectly.
He’s also been a force for good. Holder has been a strong supporter of civil rights, gay marriage, and reduced prison time for nonviolent drug offenders. He’s been permissive of Washington and Colorado’s experiments with legalized marijuana. We just got an e-mail from Christian ninnies Morality in Media saying Holder’s resignation “can only give hope to those suffering the ravages of the pornography pandemic in America.” Anyone painting him as a faux-liberal is intentionally obscuring half the man’s record. Anyone trying to paint him as a strictly liberal politician is missing the point, too.