Eric Holder accepts Obama offer to be attorney general

November 18, 2008

Washington (ChattahBox) — It’s now being reported former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has accepted President-elect Barack Obama’s offer to head the Justice Department, a senior Democrat said on Tuesday.

If the appointment is confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first African American to become Attorney General.

Holder accepted the offer, pending a review to determine if he could win confirmation with broad Democratic and Republican support in the Senate, the senior Democrat said.

Holder, 57, served as President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign co-chairman, and has a rich background within the criminal justice system as a former judge and top federal prosecutor in Washington. He is widely known within the city’s legal community and for his philanthropic work on behalf of troubled juveniles detained at Washington’s Oak Hill facility. If he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holder will be the first African American attorney general.

For the past several years, Holder has defended private corporations as a partner at the law firm Covington and Burling. But he took on an active role in the Obama campaign as a friend and adviser to the senator from Illinois after meeting him at a Washington dinner party, and over the summer served on his vice presidential vetting team.

Holder has won praise from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, although his selection is likely to revive questions about his failure to act forcefully to prevent a last-minute pardon of fugitive Marc Rich, who won clemency from President Bill Clinton during his last days in office in early 2001.

Holder would join several other veterans of the Clinton administration who already have signed on to the Obama team, including White House counsel Greg Craig, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Ronald Klain, chief of staff to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.


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