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Eric Holder

Lawyer / Government Official

Born: 21 January 1951
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Best known as: Attorney General of the United States, 2009-present

Name at birth: Eric Holder, Jr.

Eric Holder is the veteran lawyer who became U.S. Attorney General under President Barack Obama in 2009. Holder is a graduate of Columbia University (1973) and Columbia Law School (1976). He joined the Department of Justice straight out of law school, working his way through the ranks until becoming an Associate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1988. He remained a judge until appointed by Bill Clinton as U.S. District Attorney for the District of Columbia (1993-97), then served as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno from 1997 until 2001, when Clinton left office. Holder's last days in that post were tangled in controversy after he gave an opinion of "neutral, leaning toward favorable" for Clinton's last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. The Rich pardon caused an outcry, and Holder was blamed for his opinion and accused of being too chummy with Rich's lawyer, Jack Quinn. Holder then went into private practice with the corporate legal firm of Covington & Burling in 2001 and remained there through 2008. In 2007 he became a co-chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Obama won the presidency in November 2008, and nominated Holder to become Attorney General; Holder was confirmed by the Senate on 2 February 2009.

Extra credit: Holder is the first African-American to serve as Attorney General... His wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, is an obstetrician. She graduated from Harvard (1981) and Columbia Medical School. They have three children: Maya, Brooke and Eric. Holder rarely speaks publicly about his children; a 1 March 2001 article in The Washington Post identified them as ages 7, 5 and 3, and Eric Holder's bio as a trustee of Georgetown Day School identifies his daughters as "Maya '11 and Brooke '14"... Holder and Obama both got undergraduate degrees from Columbia; Holder graduated 10 years before Obama... Holder's father, Eric. Sr., was a native of Barbados who emigrated to the U.S. as a boy.

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