Eric H. Holder, Jr., advisor to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney-General designee, was born on January 21, 1951 in the Bronx, New York to parents of Barbadian descent, Eric and Miriam Holder. Holder was raised in East Elmhurst, Queens and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. In 1969, he entered Columbia University where he played collegiate basketball and became co-captain of his team. In 1973, Holder earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history from Columbia. He then attended Columbia Law School, earning a J.D. in 1976. While in law school Holder served as a law clerk for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACP-LDF).
In 1976, upon completing his law degree Holder joined the United States Department of Justice’s newly established Public Integrity Section, prosecuting misconduct by government officials. While there, he participated in the prosecution of South Carolina Democratic Congressman John Jenrette for bribery. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan nominated Holder to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia where he presided over civil and criminal trials. Holder resigned from his judgeship in 1993 to accept President Bill Clinton’s appointment for U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He became the first African-American to occupy that position. As U.S. Attorney, he directed the federal government’s case against Illinois Democratic Representative Dan Rostenkowski for his role in the Congressional Post Office Scandal. In 1997, Clinton nominated Holder to be Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno. With subsequent Senate confirmation, Holder became the first African American to fill that position.
In the closing days of the Clinton administration, Holder was involved with the President's controversial decision to pardon fugitive Democratic Party contributor Marc Rich. Holder was also involved in Clinton’s other questionable decision to reduce the sentences of several members of the Boricua Popular Army which was then labeled by the FBI as a terrorist organization. Holder served briefly as Acting Attorney General under President George W. Bush until the confirmation of Attorney General-designee John Ashcroft.
Following his career in federal government, Holder became a partner at the private law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. in 2001 where he represented such high profile clients as the pharmaceutical corporation, Merck and the National Football League. In 2007, he represented the NFL during its investigation of dog fighting allegations against the Atlanta Falcon’s superstar quarterback Michael Vick.
In March of 2004 Holder and his firm were also hired by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to serve as special investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board.
In 2007, Holder joined Obama’s presidential campaign as a senior legal advisor. He also served on his 2008 vice presidential selection committee. On December 1, Obama nominated Holder to become the first African American Attorney General. Holder is married to obstetrician Sharon Malone. They live in Washington, DC with their three children.
http://www.cov.com/eholder/; http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/h/eric_h_holder_jr/index.html; and http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/us/politics/11holder.html?_r=1
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