Miller Center

Eric H. Holder (2009-2015) - Attorney General

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Eric Himpton Holder, Jr., was born on January 21, 1951, in New York City. He attended public schools in New York City, including from Stuyvesant High School. After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in American History in 1973, he went on to earn a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1976. While studying law, Holder clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and at the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Holder began his career in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, where he investigated alleged instances of government corruption. In 1988, he was appointed an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, a post he held for five years. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Holder for the position of U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia, which he held until 1997, when he became President Clinton's Deputy Attorney General. He briefly served as acting Attorney General during the pending confirmation of John Ashcroft who served as the first Attorney General in the George W. Bush administration.

After leaving the Clinton administration, Holder became a partner at Covington & Burling law firm. During Barack Obama's president campaign, he served on the vice presidential selection team. He is the first African American to become Attorney General.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Michael Nelson

Professor Nelson is the Fulmer Professor Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow of the Miller Center, and the senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. He is the author of multiple books on American politics and government, including:

Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (University Press of Kansas), which won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for Best Book on the Presidency published in 2014

How the South Joined the Gambling Nation: The Politics of State Policy Innovation (LSU Press), which won the Southern Political Science Association’s V.O. Key Award for Outstanding Book on Southern Politics published in 2006