US Attorney General Eric Holder to Step Down

Attorney General Eric Holder

By Ryan Gorman

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly stepping down.

Holder, the country’s first African-American AG, will make the announcement Thursday, NPR is reporting, after five and a half years in the role.

The 63-year-old will remain with the Justice Department until his successor is named, but has been “adamant” about his departure, a source told NPR. The final decision was reportedly Holder’s to make, the Obama administration wanted him to stay on the full eight years.

Holder is leery about remaining much longer over fears he “could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term,” according to the source.

The final decision was agreed to by Holder and Obama over Labor Day weekend, sources told NPR.

He is the fourth-longest tenured AG in U.S. history and one of President Obama’s earliest appointees after working as the deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Holder’s tumultuous tenure has been marked by political infighting and racial divides across the nation, which culminated with the Michael Brown shooting last month in Ferguson, Missouri.

The AG was dispatched directly to the St. Louis suburb to handle he inquiry into the unarmed black teen’s death at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson.

He also notably called America “a nation of cowards” during a 2009 speech for Black History Month. A line meant to address racial tensions that instead became a lightning rod for criticism.

Holder also surprisingly decided to bring 9/11 suspects to trial in a downtown Manhattan court.

He later reversed course amid intense criticism from federal, state and local politicians and city residents and sent the trials to a military court.

Not all was bad, though, as many civil rights advances also occurred during his time in office.

The Justice Department refused to help enable laws that would restrict gay couple’s right to marry and relaxed prosecution of low-level drug offenses that many argue are targeted at minorities

Holder also went after states with voter registration laws on grounds they were targeted at restricting minorities’ right to vote.

It is not known where the New York native plans to go after his time at the Justice Department ends.

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