By Paige Lavender –The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold the nation’s top law enforcement position, plans to announce on Thursday that he will resign the post he’s held for nearly six years as soon as a successor can be confirmed.
Holder plans to make the announcement, which was first reported by NPR’s Carrie Johnson, at a press conference at the White House on Thursday afternoon. The 63-year-old will call his tenure as attorney general in the “greatest honor” of his professional life, according to a Justice Department official.
The White House has not announced a candidate to replace Holder, who has a close personal relationship with President Barack Obama. Holder discussed his plans with Obama on several occasions over the last few months, and finalized his decision at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend, according to a DOJ official. If Holder stays in office until December, he will become the third-longest serving attorney general in the history of the United States.
Holder, a frequent target of Republicans in Congress over the past several years, had made criminal justice reform his top priority in the last year. In an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this year, Holder said he had no firm plans about when he would step down.
“In terms of my own thinking of how long do I stay … I talk about tasks and trying to see certain things through,” Holder said. “I want to try to get a few things done before I ultimately leave.”
As a private citizen, Holder wants to find ways to help restore trust between law enforcement and minority communities, according to a Justice Department official. Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri, last month, and has focused much of his career on civil rights issues.
Holder has plans to visit Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Friday, where he’ll complete his goal of visiting all 93 U.S. attorney’s offices.
Holder has spoken about his resignation before, telling the New Yorker in February he was planning to leave office sometime this year.