The fourth-ranking official in the Justice Department, U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli , appears to top the list to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, the Washington Post reports. Verrilli is a former deputy White House counsel. He's smart, many say “brilliant.” He's well liked by President Obama. He was confirmed by the Senate on a 72-to-16 vote. And one of those “aye” votes was from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the majority-leader-in-waiting.
Tony West, who just left the department's No. 3 post, associate attorney general, had been high on the list, but his new job as general counsel at PepsiCo could be an obstacle. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was assistant AG for civil rights until he moved to Labor last year, is also on the list, but he could spark a major battle in the Senate. A fourth person on the list, a knowledgeable source said, “is a woman.” That could be Loretta Lynch, the current and former (1999-2001) U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. More likely it's former White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler , who's highly regarded by Obama but left in May for an law firm job. Unlike the others mentioned here, Ruemmler never has been confirmed by the Senate, which may make it hard to get her through during the post-election lame-duck session in November.