Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement on Thursday that he was stepping down was not a surprise, nor was it unexpected that defenders and critics alike would characterize his controversial tenure in frank and partisan terms.
“I think [Holder’s resignation is] good for the country, good for the Justice Department. Attorney General Holder has been a partisan hack,” said Republican operative Karl Rove
during an appearance Thursday on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta van Susteren.”
He concluded: “Thank you for your service, Mr. Attorney General, but, frankly, good riddance.”
Equally blunt in assessing Holder's tenure was House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert
, whose interactions with Holder were often heated and contentious.
“For many years now, I have been calling for Attorney General Holder’s resignation. Not only has he lied before Members of Congress and, ultimately, been held in contempt, he has obfuscated the truth and been the most partisan, partial, prejudiced and self-pitying Attorney General in my lifetime, including John Mitchell who went to jail for his crime," the Texas Republican said in a statement.
During a hearing on the investigation into Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he famously told Holder
not to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
Holder, who was the first African American picked to lead the Justice Department, is one of the few remaining appointments from Obama's first term, and one of the most controversial.
A longtime friend of the president, Holder's term as attorney general began inauspiciously with a decision to dismiss a voter intimidation lawsuit against the Black Panther Party and reached a low-point when he was held by the House of Representatives in criminal contempt in 2012 over his refusal to turn over documents in the "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation, according to The Los Angeles Times
Holder's resignation also drew praise from his supporters.
Civil rights leader and Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis
said "his resignation is a great loss for any American seeking justice in our society,” reports The Washington Post.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy
, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will oversee the nomination process of Holder's replacement, said in a statement that he had been "an extraordinary leader of the Department of Justice, and is to be congratulated for his service."
Texas Sen. John Cornyn
, who could be chairman of the committee if Republicans reclaim the majority in November, said he "lost confidence in the Attorney General’s ability to lead a long time ago," but hoped that President Obama would "nominate someone who will uphold the basic standards of honesty, transparency, and accountability that have been so glaringly absent" under Holder's leadership of the Justice Department.
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