Eric Holder has announced that he is leaving his post of Attorney General, which he has sullied and degraded for six years.
A corporate lawyer with the Wall Street law firm Covington & Burling, Holder will be remembered for his timid defense of civil rights; his overseeing and even encouragement of the massive militarization of the nation’s police forces; his anti-First Amendment efforts to pursue not just whistleblowers but the journalists who use them; threatening both with jail and in fact jailing a number of them (particularly in the case of whistleblower extraordinaire Edward Snowden, and WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange, both of whom reportedly face US treason charges); and his weak enforcement of environmental protection laws.
But Holder, who came into his position as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in early 2009 at the start of the Obama administration and at the height of the financial crisis, will be best remembered for his overt announcement that there would be no attempt to prosecute the criminals at the top of the nation’s top banks, whose brazen crimes of theft, deceit, fraud and perjury during the Bush/Cheney years and beyond sank not just the US but the global economy into a crisis which is still with us.
Holder not only did not make any effort to put Wall Street’s banking titans behind bars for their epic crimes, he did not even make them step down from their exalted and absurdly highly compensated executive positions when his office reached negotiated settlements with the banks in civil cases involving those crimes—civil cases that almost always allowed the banks to settle without even having to admit their guilt. (His ludicrous excuse: punishing these criminal executive might jeopardize the banks’ stocks and hurt “innocent” shareholders!)