Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will Holder Be Attorney General?

[JR: WHERE IS THE CHANGE? It seems Obama is installing all the old Clintin retreads, and we clearly remember all the shady and unconstitutional acts of the Clintin administration. The only reason Dubya was elected is because the Clintin Demoncrats had to be removed, but Dubya was able to build on the misdeeds of the Clintin era. This certainly makes it very hard to believe anything coming out of Washington, no matter which party is in charge, because NOTHING CHANGES.]
November 18, 2008, 3:53 pm

Will Holder Be Attorney General?
By Eric Lichtblau AND David Johnston
(Photo: Leslie E. Kossoff/Associated Press)

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has given strong signals to Eric H. Holder Jr., a senior official in the Clinton administration, that he will be chosen as attorney general, but no final decision has been made, people involved in the process said Tuesday.

Mr. Holder would be the first African-American to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official. He has long been considered the front-runner for the job as a strong supporter of Mr. Obama who brings to the job a long record as a prosecutor and a judge.

But with the economic crisis as the top priority, Mr. Obama’s transition team appears to want to name a treasury secretary this week or next before moving on to the attorney general’s spot.

Now in private practice as a partner at the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling, Mr. Holder served as a federal prosecutor, a trial court judge, and United States attorney for the District of Columbia before becoming the top-ranking aide to Attorney General Janet Reno in 1997. He was the first African-American to serve in that post.

His last days at the Justice Department in 2001 were marred by his peripheral involvement in President Clinton’s controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, as some Republicans blamed Mr. Holder for failing to oppose the pardon. Some Democrats are concerned that the issue will resurface if Mr. Holder is nominated for attorney general.

But officials in Mr. Obama’s transition appear to have overcome those concerns as they near an announcement about the attorney general’s job. Newsweek reported Tuesday that Mr. Obama had already made the decision to tap Mr. Holder. An official with the Obama camp, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that report was “wrong” and added that “no decision has been made.”

More on Eric Holder

Eric H. Holder Jr.

Eric H. Holder Jr., former deputy attorney general under Janet Reno in the Clinton administration, is being considered for attorney general in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.

Mr. Holder has a history of being sponsored for prominent positions by presidents of both parties. He was appointed a United States attorney and then deputy attorney general by President Clinton. For the previous five years, he served as a judge on the District of Columbia Superior Court, a post to which he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Holder worked for 12 years with the Justice Department's Public Integrity section, prosecuting misconduct by state officials, judges, F.B.I. agents and a Federal prosecutor. In recent years, he has worked as a partner at Covington & Burling, representing big-name clients like the National Football League, Chiquita Brands International and Merck.

Mr. Holder, as deputy attorney general, did not play a direct role in President Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, the fugitive financier, who in 1983 fled to Switzerland rather than face tax evasion charges. But when queried about his view of the pardon, Mr. Holder told the White House he was “neutral, leaning towards favorable.” The comment was later seized on by Democrats to defend the pardon and by Republicans to blast Mr. Holder for endorsing what became the most heavily criticized pardon of Mr. Clinton’s presidency, in part because it turned out that Mr. Rich’s former wife, Denise Rich, donated large amounts of money to Mr. Clinton’s presidential library.

Mr. Holder is close to Valerie Jarrett, an Obama confidant and co-chairwoman of the Obama transition team. During the campaign, Mr. Holder was part of a vice-presidential advisory team that helped pick Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware as Mr. Obama’s running mate.

Born Jan. 21, 1951, in the Bronx and raised in New York City, Mr. Holder attended public schools and graduated from Columbia University and Columbia Law School.

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