Holder, one of the few Obama remaining appointments from the first term, is one of the longest-serving AG's in US history and the country's first black attorney general. His five year tenure was marked primarily by cover-ups, politically motivated prosecutions and overreach on the part of the DOJ.
In the summer of 2012, Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress when the DOJ refused to turn over documents pertaining to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Operation Fast & Furious, in which the agency allowed straw purchasers to buy guns in US border states and take them into Mexico without intervening. In December 2010, one of these guns was recovered from the scene of a shootout south of Tuscon, AZ where Mexican drug traffickers killed US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and Mexican officials have seized numerous guns traced to the gunwalking program from drug traffickers or recovered them from murder scenes south of the border.
Before Holder announced his resignation, a federal judge ordered Holder to hand over all the requested Fast and Furious documents to the House Oversight Committee by October 1st. This has led to some speculation that the withheld documents contain damaging or politically embarrassing details that would've generated bad publicity for the White House and Democrats a month before the midterm elections. Others believe Holder's departure could have been timed to allow President Obama's hand-picked replacement to be confirmed by the Senate in a lame duck session in the event the majority shifts back to the Republicans after the elections.
Early in his tenure, Holder also supported civilian trials for Al Qaeda terrorists captured on the battlefield and detained in Guantanamo Bay, although the administration later backed off of trying suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Federal court in New York.
As attorney general, Holder seemingly took every opportunity to inject race into the DOJ enforcing federal laws- his DOJ's Civil Rights Commission declined to press charges against members of the New Black Panthers Party who were videotaped clad in paramilitary uniforms and wielding nightsticks in front of a Philadelphia polling station in 2008. Claiming minorities were incapable of obtaining photo ID, Holder's DOJ also unsuccessfully fought newly-passed voter ID laws in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas.
Speaking out on the recent unrest in Ferguson, MO, Holder told an audience at New York University this week:
“As an African American man who has been stopped and searched by police in situations where such actions were not warranted, I also carry with me an understanding of the mistrust that some citizens harbor (toward police),"
Under Holder, the DOJ also aggressively went after e-mails reporters from the Associated Press and FOX News and seized the phone records of FOX News reporter James Rosen's parents in the name of national security.
Not surprisingly, holder said that the Department of Justice had no plans to investigate the Veterans Affairs clandestine wait-lists in which the agency deferred treatment to numerous veterans seeking care at VA facilities- with a number of them dying as a result of being denied care.