[JURIST] US President-elect Barack Obama officially announced [transition materials and transcript] on Monday that he is nominating former Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] official Eric Holder [professional profile; JURIST report] as the next US attorney general. If confirmed by the Senate, Holder will be the first African American to lead the DOJ. Holder served as Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton Administration and led Obamas VP selection team during the election. Obama said:
Eric Holder has the talent and commitment to succeed as Attorney General from his first day on the job, which is even more important in a transition that demands vigilance. He has distinguished himself as a prosecutor, a Judge, and a senior official, and he is deeply familiar with the law enforcement challenges we face from terrorism to counter-intelligence; from white collar crime to public corruption.After news of the pending nomination leaked [JURIST report] last month, the Republican National Committee [party website] criticized [JURIST report] Obama's choice because of Holder's role in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich on the last day of the Clinton presidency.
Eric also has the combination of toughness and independence that we need at the Justice Department. Let me be clear: the Attorney General serves the American people. And I have every expectation that Eric will protect our people, uphold the public trust, and adhere to our Constitution.
On Monday, Obama also announced that he has asked Robert Gates, current defense secretary, to continue in the position; James Jones, a retired Marine, to serve as national security adviser; Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, to be secretary of Homeland Security; and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to be secretary of state.