Eric Holder’s departure as Attorney General poses challenges for an administration looking to push through new laws on civil rights and sentencing reform next year, says the Wall Street Journal. His successor will inherit many of the same thorny issues Holder has wrestled with: Assertions of broad executive authority to conduct military strikes on terror targets, to use lethal drones against U.S. citizens overseas suspected of terrorism and to gather Americans’ communications records.
The administration’s ability to push through any of its policy goals could be complicated if Republicans take control of the Senate in November. Among those mentioned as successors is former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. Another candidate Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who argued the government’s case in the 2012 challenge to the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been mentioned. Holder, who became a lightning rod for criticism related to his handling of terrorism, civil rights and Wall Street investigations, will stay on the job until a successor is confirmed. That could leave him in limbo for months. The Senate won’t be in session until after the elections, and some Republicans contend that a vote on his replacement shouldn’t take place during a lame-duck session.