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Eric Holder Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of former US Attorney General Eric Holder.


Birth date: January 21, 1951

Birth place: Bronx, New York

Birth name: Eric Himpton Holder Jr.

Father: Eric Himpton Holder, realtor

Mother: Miriam (Yearwood) Holder

Marriage: Sharon (Malone) Holder (1990-present)

Children: Maya, Brooke and Eric

Education: Columbia College, B.A., 1973; Columbia Law School, J.D., 1976

Other Facts

The first African American US Attorney General.

Member of Barack Obama’s vice presidential selection team.

Is an active member of the national youth mentoring organization Concerned Black Men.


1976-1988 Works for the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section.

1988-1993 Associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

1993-1997 – US attorney for the District of Columbia.

1997-2001 – Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He is the first African American to hold this position.

2001-2008 Litigation partner with Covington & Burling LLP.

2007-2008 Senior legal adviser for Obama’s presidential campaign.

December 1, 2008 – President-elect Obama nominates Holder to be attorney general of the United States.

February 2, 2009 Is confirmed by the Senate, 75-21.

February 3, 2009 Is sworn in as attorney general of the United States by Vice President Joe Biden.

February 18, 2009 – In his first major speech since being confirmed, Holder makes a controversial remark calling the United States a “nation of cowards” for not discussing race relations.

October 4, 2011 – The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee calls for an investigation into whether Holder was honest when testifying earlier in the year about his knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious. The controversial operation, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was supposed to track weapons purchases by Mexican drug cartels. However, more than 1,000 weapons were lost track of and two lost weapons turned up at the scene of the 2010 murder of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

October 12, 2011 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issues a subpoena for communications from Holder and other Justice Department officials relating to Operation Fast and Furious.

December 2, 2011 About 1,400 pages of internal documents on Operation Fast and Furious are released by the Justice Department.

June 20, 2012 – President Obama asserts executive privilege over some of the documents sought by the committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious.

June 20, 2012 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over all of the documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.

June 28, 2012 The House of Representatives votes 255-67 to hold Holder in contempt. This is the first time in US history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt of Congress.

June 29, 2012 The White House announces that Holder will not face criminal prosecution under the contempt of Congress citation. President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege in the case prevents a criminal prosecution.

August 13, 2012 – The House Oversight Committee files a civil contempt lawsuit against Holder, seeking the release of Operation Fast and Furious documents. On January 19, 2016, a federal judge orders the DOJ to release thousands of pages of documents.

February 27, 2014 – Holder is hospitalized after experiencing faintness and shortness of breath.

September 25, 2014 – Holder announces his resignation. He will stay in his post until the confirmation of his successor.

April 24, 2015 – Holder’s last day in office as attorney general.

July 2015 – Holder rejoins the law firm of Covington and Burling, LLP.

October 17, 2016 – It is announced by Politico that Holder will chair the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. The new group will focus on fair congressional redistricting reform for future elections.

October 2018 – Authorities intercept packages with suspected explosives intended for prominent critics of President Donald Trump, including Holder, top political figures and others. The package for Holder is sent to the Florida office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. None of the devices detonated, and no one was injured.

October 26, 2018 – Police arrest Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc, 56, in Plantation, Florida. He is accused of sending at least 16 packages with suspected explosives to several targets, including CNN, former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Sayoc is later indicted on 30 counts and pleads not guilty. In August 2019, Sayoc apologizes and pleads guilty. He is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

December 11, 2019 – In a Washington Post opinion piece, Holder writes that “William Barr is unfit to lead the Justice Department.” Holder criticizes Barr for controversial comments that “have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution.”

October 29, 2020 Holder accuses Republicans of using court challenges to facilitate “cheating” in the 2020 election, and attempting to “suppress the vote all through the process…”There’s a whole range of things that they have done to make it difficult for people who they perceive to be Democrats to cast votes,” Holder tells CNN’s Don Lemon.

May 2022 – His book “Our Unfinished March: The Violent Past and Imperiled Future of the Vote-A History, a Crisis, a Plan,” written with Sam Koppelman, is published.

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