After nearly six years in office, Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning his post. Over his tenure, Holder has attracted words like "embattled," "controversial," and "scandal-plagued". He's also been lauded as a civil-rights pioneer in the Justice Department.
At a press conference at the White House on Thursday, President Obama praised Holder for his service as one of the longest-serving attorneys general in U.S. history. Since being appointed as a federal judge by President Reagan, Holder has served under six presidents of both parties.
"This is bittersweet," Obama said Thursday. "I chose him to serve as attorney general because he believes, as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory. It's a living, breathing principle."
Holder, whose family vacations with the president's on Martha's Vineyard, is one of Obama's closest friends in the White House. The president's admiration and personal fondness for Holder was apparent in his speech Thursday.
Among Holder's achievements, Obama credited him with "rooting out" corruption, fighting violent crime, and "reinvigorating" the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
"It's a pretty good track record," the president said.
The point about Holder's civil-rights work was particularly poignant on Thursday, the same day Michael Brown's parents appeared in Washington to talk about the death of their son. In August, Holder visited Ferguson, Mo., to address racial tensions there.