Obama’s Attorney General

Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, November 18, 2008

President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition.

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Holder, 57, has been on Obama’s “short list” for attorney general from the outset. A partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling, Holder served as co-chief (along with Caroline Kennedy) of Obama’s vice-presidential selection process. He also actively campaigned for Obama throughout the year and grew personally close to the president-elect. {snip}

The sources said the Obama transition team is still debating over who should serve under Holder in the key post of deputy attorney general. One top candidate, favored by Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and other former Clinton White House officials, is Elena Kagan, dean of the Harvard Law School and a former lawyer in the White House counsel’s office under Clinton. Another top candidate, favored by other Obama advisors, is David Ogden, a former chief of staff to Attorney General Janet Reno, who is currently heading Obama’s Justice Department transition team. Kagan brings legal policy credentials; Ogden has more experience in the Justice Department trenches.

The only hesitancy about Holder’s selection was that he himself had reservations about going through a confirmation process that was likely to revive questions about his role in signing off on the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. {snip}

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Eric Holder.

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