Eric Holder: biography
Eric Holder is an American attorney, who dedicated his life to his country. Although his parents were immigrants from Barbados, Holder worked as a public servant in the U.S. for more than 40 years and gained much recognition being the first African-American U.S. Attorney General.
Childhood and youth
Eric Holder was born on the 21st of January, 1951, in the Bronx, NYC. His parents are of Barbadian decent; however his mother, Miriam, had American citizenship since her birth and was a daughter of immigrants. As an adult, Eric visited his homeland a couple of times.
Holder spent his childhood in Queens, to be more precise, in East Elmhurst, a middle-class suburb, and subsequently attended a local public school. He was later noticed and had a chance of transferring to a prestigious school offering specialized accelerated education, Stuyvesant High School, which the East Village of Manhattan. As a gifted student, he successfully graduated in 1969 and enrolled at Columbia University to study American history. During his first year, Holder also had enough free time to play basketball and was quite good at it. Eric even dreamt of a professional career but continued following his path, since his life goal was working in the public sector. He was deeply inspired by John Kennedy’s inauguration speech, that cherished the liberties and justice America had, so a young boy decided to protect them being a qualified lawyer.
So, a future attorney realized that B.A. wasn’t his limit and he required a J.D. to become a practitioner. He attended Columbia Law School and graduated in 1976. While receiving an education, he started getting some skills in the field. Holder worked for NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a law firm, that originated from a legal department of an organization which was established in order to provide defense for African-Americans. He spent his second summer in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, so he basically covered two different areas of the law.
After completing the education in 1976, Holder remained at the Criminal Division, Public Integrity Section, that dealt with political corruption. The most famous cases he worked on were a John Jenrette’s bribery scandal, a «Capo» trial, which was a criminal group operating in Philadelphia, and a case of the State Treasurer of Florida.
Holder had to quit in 1988 since he was assigned a position of a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by Ronald Reagan, who was in charge of the country at that time. Eventually, it turned out that Holder was the first African-American taking such a place.
In 1993 he was elevated by Bill Clinton and became the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, who was supposed to represent the federal government of the state in the U.S. District Court. And again, Holder repeated his record of being the first African-American in the office.
In 1997 he gained another promotion and took the office of Deputy Attorney General. Holder’s major areas were budget and personnel ones; he managed conflicts between the heads of various departments and also had time to participate in high-profile investigations such as drug trafficking and corruption cases.
Eric Holder also held credits for developing a bill on protecting children from violation and, besides, took part in creating a draft that made possible bringing the CEOs of corporations to justice.
Even before becoming an Attorney General, Holder had an opportunity to get acquainted with the strains of the job, when he preceded John Ashcroft as an Acting Attorney General. It was predicted that he might have become an actual Attorney General in case of Democrats winning in 2000 and 2004, but it was the time of a Republican ruling the nation.
Eventually, he took an honorable position after the installation of Barack Obama in 2009, whom he supported and advised to during the presidential campaign. It was Holder who recommended assigning Joseph Biden as a vice-president.
Although Holder’s views differ from the president’s ones on matters such as racism, for example, their collaboration proved to be beneficial. An experience gathered while staying in previous offices was of great help.
Since 2001 Holder also ran his legal practice in a private firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
Criminal investigations and prosecutions
During his tenure as Attorney General, Holder faced numerous cases when he didn’t agree with the majority. For instance, legalization of Marijuana in California, which he didn’t approve but expressed his ability to obey whatever law people would choose.
The public also found an attorney guilty in the process of a leak investigation. When the case took a weird turn, he confessed that he wasn’t involved in the prosecution; however, some journalists thought that he lied under oath.
Operation Fast and Furious
However, even such a talented professional may suffer from being out of luck. In May 2012 the majority of members of The United States House of Representatives held Holder in contempt of Congress since he refused to provide classified details on Operation Fast and Furious. It was an unsuccessful operation aimed at finding the way of how the firearm was transported from the U.S. to Mexico. There was a strategic plan that involved placing tracked guns secretly and trying to follow them. Unfortunately, the holes were not found, the smuggling went on, and more than 2000 weapons fell into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.
Holder resigned in September 2014, due to some personal reasons, but it was only after his successor was found and installed. He didn’t have to look for a new job and quickly returned to the private practice he held before.
Holder is married to Sharon Malone, a surgeon specializing in gynecology. Eric considers his wife to be his leading advisor and he even confessed that he wouldn’t run for 2020 presidency in case she opposes his decision.
They have three children together and a couple of well-known relatives. Sharon's sister is famous for being the first African-American woman in the University of Alabama, who enrolled and graduated against the will of the State Governor.
A family resides in Washington, D.C., which is very convenient for the attorney.
Holder’s net worth equals to $11.5 million, and he has almost 500 thousand followers on Twitter.
In 2008 Legal Times magazine considered Holder to be one of the best lawyers in Washington in a span of 30 years, and then The National Law Journal also honored him including on the list of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America. He was mentioned especially for his work during Obama’s campaign and his overall contribution to civil defense.
Holder gave commencement speeches in various universities all over the country starting in 2009. An abundance of seniors kicked off their adult life after listening to the famous attorney. He was also chosen as a Class Day Speaker in his alma mater, Columbia University once.
Moreover, a municipal building in Barbados, Holder’s native land, bears his name, since it was the U.S Attorney General himself who announced the opening of the complex.
Eric Holder is twice Doctor of Laws because both Columbia and Boston universities honored him with such a degree.