Al Sharpton Wants to Help Crown Eric Holder’s Successor

Attorney General Eric Holder. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rev. Al Sharpton said today that he is in “immediate conversations” with the White House about crowning a successor to Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s first African-American attorney general.

“We are proud that he has been the best Attorney General on civil rights in U.S. history and disappointed because he leaves at a critical time when we need his continued diligence most,” Mr. Sharpton, the president of the National Action Network, said in a statement. “We are engaged in immediate conversations with the White House on deliberations over a successor whom we hope will continue in the general direction of Attorney General Holder.”

Mr. Sharpton, who is close to President Barack Obama, heaped praised Mr. Holder, a Democrat who spoke openly about race relations in America. The Justice Department announced this afternoon Mr. Holder will voluntarily resign his post.

“His accomplishments in working to protect American’s from terrorism, fighting to protect voter rights, challenging unfair sentencing, directing U.S. attorneys on fair prosecution, and being the only Attorney General to visit the site of a civil rights complaint in Ferguson must be noted in American history,” Mr. Sharpton continued.

Having served since the beginning of Mr. Obama’s first term, Mr. Holder had made it known he would leave his post by the end of the year. The White House does not intend to name a successor today, according to published reports, and Mr. Holder will stay on until a successor is nominated and confirmed.

Mr. Sharpton has called on Mr. Holder to press charges in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two black men who died in police custody this summer. Mr. Holder traveled to Ferguson, Missouri where Mr. Brown was shot and killed and was recently in New York, where Mr. Garner died in July, though he did not comment about Mr. Garner’s case during his appearance at New York University.

Mr. Sharpton’s statement was not without criticism: like many other liberals, he faulted Mr. Holder for not closing Guantanamo Bay.

“Though we would have liked to have seen other areas more aggressively
dealt with, such as closing Guantanamo Bay, his general service has been more
than exemplary,” Mr. Sharpton said.

Both U.S. Attorneys overseeing New York City, Preet Bharara and Loretta Lynch, have been rumored as possible successors to Mr. Holder.

View the full statement below:

“The resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder is met with both pride and  disappointment by the Civil Rights community. We are proud that he has been the best Attorney General on civil rights in U.S. history and disappointed because he leaves at a critical time when we need his continued diligence most. We are engaged in immediate conversations with the White House on deliberations over a successor whom we hope will continue in the general direction of Attorney General Holder. His accomplishments in working to protect American’s from terrorism, fighting to protect voter rights, challenging unfair sentencing, directing U.S. attorneys on fair prosecution, and being the only Attorney General to visit the site of a civil rights complaint in Ferguson must be noted in American history. Though we would have liked to have seen other areas more aggressively dealt with, such as closing Guantanamo Bay, his general service has been more than exemplary. As I stood with the families of Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner of Staten Island, NY, and called on the Justice Department to take over the criminal investigation of those cases at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today, we hope Attorney General Holder will authorize this before his departure or that it becomes the first order of business for his successor. Policing of Americans is the critical challenge of today, especially Blacks and Browns in particular. We will aggressively pursue the Justice Department’s involvement in dealing with these matters in his remaining days and in the days ahead of his successor.”

Al Sharpton Wants to Help Crown Eric Holder’s Successor