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Holder’s Legacy From ‘Fast And Furious’ Through Ferguson

At a press conference Thursday afternoon Holder will reportedly call his time as the Attorney General “the greatest honor of [his] professional life.”
Posted at 3:50 PM, Sep 25, 2014

His legacy will include a range of events — from the “Fast and Furious” scandal to Ferguson.

Thursday, the news of Eric Holder stepping down as attorney general after six years seemed to take many news outlets by surprise. (Video via CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera

NPR first broke the story Thursday morning, citing sources who said Holder plans to leave the office as soon as a successor can be named.

Following up, ABC quoted a Justice Department official saying, "Attorney General Holder has discussed his plans personally with the president on multiple occasions in recent months, and finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend.”

Holder, who is 63, has served in the role of Attorney General since 2009 — and is one of the longest serving members in President Obama’s cabinet. The first black attorney general in U.S. history also served the fourth-longest tenure in the history of the position. (Video via The White House

Throughout his time in office Holder faced considerable challenges on a range of issues.

Including calls to resign in the wake of the “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking scandal. (Video via Fox News

And repairing race relations after the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri led to protests and even riots.(Video via BBC)

Some even referred to Holder, who went to Ferguson in the midst of the outrage, as Mr. Obama’s “mouthpiece” on race relations. According to National Journal, Holder had to play the role of “the man who is unafraid to say the things that Obama, politically, cannot.”

But as NPR notes, it might be his actions on issues like the Mike Brown case that Holder wants to be known for. (Video via ABC)


It writes, “Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; … and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.”

Although Time notes that legacy may be mixed in the eyes of some.

TIME: “It was marked by a focus on civil rights that was praised by some black leaders but criticized by others who expected more from the nation’s first black president and first black attorney general.”

Holder’s resignation doesn’t come completely out of the blue. He told a writer for The New Yorker in February he planned to leave the office in 2014.

Holder was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a Superior Court judge in Washington D.C. in the 1980s and was named Deputy Attorney General by President Clinton in 1997.

According to the Washington Post at his resignation press conference Thursday afternoon Holder will call his time as attorney general “the greatest honor of [his] professional life.”

This video includes images from Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla and Getty Images / Alex Wong.