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Attorney General Eric Holder Resigns: What's Next?

By William Peacock, Esq. on September 25, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Conservatives finally got their wish: Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping aside, though it remains to be seen whether they will have any input on his successor.

Earlier today, President Barack Obama and Holder made a joint announcement about the resignation, with Obama saying that Holder did a "superb job" and confirming that Holder would leave once his successor was lined up. In his prepared speech, Holder thanked the president, the vice president, and his family, and celebrated the administration's achievements in pushing for LGBT equality and reform of the criminal justice system, among others.

But even before the announcement was made official, speculation began on where Holder was headed, as well as who was headed for his position as attorney general.

Replacement Coming Soon?

Holder finalized his plans to step aside over Labor Day weekend, which means Obama has had nearly a month to ruminate on replacements. Politico notes that only 51 votes would be required for his replacement's confirmation, and it's a good possibility that a candidate could (and would) be pushed through once the Senate returns from the midterm election break.

Should the Democrats lose in November, the appointee would face a lame duck Congress, one with enough votes to push through a candidate, though such a move would be controversial. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) is already calling for the president to run candidates by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

His Future/Future AG?

Word of Holder's departure leaked earlier this morning, immediately sparking speculation about Holder's next move, as well as rumors about possible successors.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh speculated that Holder stepped aside so that he could be on Obama's short list for the Supreme Court. Of course, that would require either one of the older conservative justices or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign -- and RBG once again ruled out retirement earlier today. Then again, her stated reason was that she doubted Obama would "successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the Court," reports The Daily Beast.

Would Holder fit the bill? And who is a good fit for his old job?

The Washington Post has a few rumored candidates:

  • Solicitor General Don Verrilli Jr.,
  • Former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler,
  • U.S. attorney Preet Bharara,
  • U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch,
  • Former U.S. attorney Jen Durkan,
  • California Attorney General Kamala Harris,
  • Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse,
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White,
  • Deputy Attorney General James Cole, and
  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The last name on the list, Gov. Patrick, immediately quashed the rumor, saying that he has "no interest" in the job, reports the Boston Herald.

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