Former attorney General Eric Holder, who retired from his post earlier this year, is already back to practicing law at Covington & Burling, the firm he left in 2009 to join the Obama administration. But Holder says that's probably the final stop in his long career in the legal world, since he's not interested in being nominated to serve on the Supreme Court - or even being a judge at all.
If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to win the White House in 2016 and offer him a spot on the court, Holder told The National Law Journal his response would be, "'Madame President, with all due respect, you need to pick somebody who's a) younger and b) who's a lot more interested.' That's not something I want to do."
The reason, Holder said, is that his five years on the D.C. Superior Court earlier in his career made him realize he finds being a lawyer more satisfying.
"With all due respect to judges and justices--and maybe it's different on the Supreme Court, I suppose--but an analogy I've used that has infuriated my former colleagues is that I feel like you're a referee in the middle of a game where I want to be a player. That's why I left the bench," he said, citing in particular his work during D.C.'s crack wars when he saw young black men who could have been community leaders were sent to jail for drug-related offenses. He said he thought he could have had a much greater impact as a U.S. Attorney.
He's not even that interested in arguing before the Supreme Court, saying he doesn't feel his legal career would be incomplete without the experience.
Since he stepped down, Holder has not retreated entirely from the public eye. He said he was "so affected" by the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last month that he joined Twitter to express the feelings that he had.
Hate and gun violence. How often? How long? My heart breaks - again. Condolences to victims, survivors and families at Mother Emanuel— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) June 18, 2015
He said he's "actually kind of satisfied" with the work he was able to do on criminal justice reform, but urged Congress to finish the job.
"I think we did as much as we could using executive branch discretion, but now it's up to Congress to put in place measures that will last beyond this administration. We made a sea change from the policies that I inherited," he said. "I would hope in this Congress, not the next one, but in this Congress, that legislation will pass."