Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Eric H. Holder (2009- ): Attorney General

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr., was born on January 21, 1951, in New York City. He attended public schools in New York City, including from Stuyvesant High School. After graduating from Columbia University with a degree in American History in 1973, he went on to earn a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1976. While studying law, Holder clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and at the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

Holder began his career in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, where he investigated alleged instances of government corruption. In 1988, he was appointed an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, a post he held for five years. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Holder for the position of U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia, which he held until 1997, when he became President Clinton's Deputy Attorney General. He briefly served as acting Attorney General during the pending confirmation of John Ashcroft who served as the first Attorney General in the George W. Bush administration.

After leaving the Clinton administration, Holder became a partner at Covington & Burling law firm. During Barack Obama's president campaign, he served on the vice presidential selection team. He is the first African American to become Attorney General.