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Sun, 01.21.1951

Eric Holder, Lawyer, and Administrator born

Eric Holder

*Eric Holder was born on this date in 1951. He is a Black lawyer and administrator.

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. was born in The Bronx, New York, to parents who emigrated from Barbados. He grew up in Queens and was educated at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and attended Columbia University, where he earned a B.A. in 1973 and a J.D. in 1976.

After graduating from Law School, Holder worked in the U.S. Justice Department. He was a trial attorney in the Public Integrity section until 1988. President Ronald Reagan appointed him as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1993 Holder was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia by President Bill Clinton.

In 1997, Holder became Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno. Holder's opposition to the death penalty was questioned during his confirmation hearing. Still, he pledged his intention to cooperate with the current laws saying, "I am not a proponent of the death penalty, but I will enforce the law as this Congress gives it to us." Holder was the first Black to serve in each of those positions. As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was, along with Jack Quinn, drawn into controversy surrounding President Clinton's pardon of fugitive Marc Rich.

In 2001, Holder began working as an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita Brands International in a case that involved Chiquita's payment of "protection money" to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. This paramilitary group has been designated a terrorist group by the United States government. In late 2007, Holder joined Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior legal adviser.

On December 1, 2008, Holder became Attorney General, the first Black to head the Justice Department; he submitted his resignation from this post in September 2014. Eric Holder is married to Sharon Malone, an obstetrician; the couple has three children.  Holder delivered the commencement address at the UCLA School of Law in June 2020.

To Become a Lawyer


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