“I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as a young boy I watched Robert Kennedy prove during the civil rights movement how the department can -- and must -- always be a force for that which is right,” Holder said. “I hope that I have done honor to the faith you placed in me, Mr. President, and to the legacy of all those that served before me.”
Holder, 63, said he would leave the Justice Department in “the months ahead,” but said he “will never leave the work” and would “continue to serve and try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals.”
Obama, who has a close personal relationship with Holder, did not name a candidate to replace him. 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.
Obama praised Holder’s long career, noting that he worked with six presidents of different parties, and credited him with restoring the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
"He believes, as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory. It’s a living and breathing principle," Obama said.
Holder had worked "to make sure that those words 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' are made real for all of us," Obama added.
Holder, a frequent target of Republicans in Congress over the past several years, has 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.
source: huffingtonpost.com by Paige Lavender