Attorney General Eric Holder to step down

Sep 25, 2014 11:13 AM by CBS/AP

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce today that he plans to step down after six years as head of the Justice Department.

Holder has agreed to keep his role as the nation's chief law enforcement official until his successor is confirmed, a Justice Department official confirmed to CBS News. Holder is one of just three members of President Obama's original cabinet who is still serving. He's also the first African-American to serve as attorney general.

After discussing his departure with Mr. Obama multiple times in recent months, Holder finalized his plans in a discussion with the president over Labor Day.

The 63-year-old former judge and prosecutor took office in early 2009 as the U.S. government grappled with the worst financial crisis in decades and with divisive questions on the handling of captured terrorism suspects.

In his first few years on the job, Holder endured a succession of firestorms over, among other things, an ultimately-abandoned plan to try terrorism suspects in New York City, a botched gun-running probe along the Southwest border that prompted Republican calls for his resignation, and a perceived failure to hold banks accountable for the economic meltdown.

But he stayed on after President Barack Obama won re-election, turning in his final stretch to issues that he said were personally important to him. He promoted voting rights and legal benefits for same-sex couples and pushed for changes to a criminal justice system that he said meted out punishment disproportionately to minorities.


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