President-elect Barack Obama’s transition strategists are now satisfied that Eric Holder will be confirmed as attorney general despite plans by Senate Republicans to ask tough questions at his confirmation hearings, Democratic officials said. Plans to name him to be the nation's top law enforcement officer are now definite after aides took soundings from Capitol Hill, the officials said.
An official announcement is planned for after Thanksgiving.
Holder has the combination of personal familiarity with Obama and workaday Washington experience that has been the hallmark of most of the president-elect’s Cabinet picks.
Holder, an early Obama supporter during the Democratic primaries, led his vice-presidential search, along with Caroline Kennedy. Holder is currently a partner with the law firm Covington & Burling.
Republican senators plan to grill Holder about his role in President Bill Clinton’s controversial last-minute pardon of the international financier Marc Rich.
Republican Senate aides said they expect "tough" and "interesting" hearings, but said they know of no plans to try to kill the nomination.
The aides said that in addition to being quizzed about the Rich matter, Holder will be questioned on such topics as his willingness to enforce Patriot Act provisions tearing down the wall that prevented information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement last week saying: “The only person who thinks Eric Holder represents ‘hope’ is Marc Rich.”
From Holder’s bio official biography: “In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. … In 1993, President Clinton nominated Mr. Holder to become the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. … In 1997, President Clinton appointed Mr. Holder to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the United States Department of Justice. He became the first African-American to serve as Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Holder briefly served under President Bush as Acting Attorney General pending the confirmation of Attorney General John Ashcroft. …
“Mr. Holder was born in New York City. He attended public schools there, graduating from Stuyvesant High School where he earned a Regents Scholarship. He attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. Mr. Holder then attended Columbia Law School from which he graduated in 1976. While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division. Mr. Holder lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, an obstetrician, and their three children.”