Eric Holder’s Legacy

The attorney general took some laudable positions, but his record is marred by the role he played in matters of secrecy and national security.

Comments: 184

  1. " In tracking the sources of leaks, prosecutors seized phone and email records of journalists who were doing their jobs."...... Please define journalist. Is it someone who works for a newspaper? Is it someone who writes a blog on the internet? Is it someone who plans to write a blog? Or is it anyone who claims they are a journalist? The problem here is that there is no legal definition of journalist; and while the constitution protects the freedom of the press, it does not specify in anyway that anyone who claims to be a journalist somehow is guaranteed special privileges that other citizens do not have. Until the law defines a journalist and specifies that they have unique rights not granted to the average citizen, Holder's position is correct. And just because you are an important newspaper does not mean you can make things up.

  2. If I remember correctly, there was decision in a journalist access to a New Mexico prison case in which the media has only the ordinary citizen's rights.
    As far Holder, he'll need Obama's pardon to avoid prison.

  3. So you're saying James Risen isn't a journalist? The AP journalists are not journalists? If we follow this train of thought, it wouldn't be long before there were no journalists left in America.

  4. Obviously, Freedom of the press applies to everyone, so everyone is free to publish things unmolested. Inhibiting anyone's ability to do journalism is unconstitutional. If Snowden made his stash of documents available to anyone, they would be allowed under the first amendment to publish about them. The only recourse would be charges of libel, or some other specific tangible crime caused by the writing, e.g. Inciting a race riot. Blanket restrictions not to reveal anything that the government labels "classified", just because, is clearly prohibited by the first amendment.

  5. Racist Right gave 2 men no slack,
    Coincidence that both were Black?
    Holder & O,
    Wanted both to go,
    Of invective there was no lack.

    The Tea Party is overjoyed,
    With threats to impeach him they toyed,
    Nothing he did was right
    In the Tea Party light,
    His absence will leave a great void.

  6. The curse of the Obama Administration, the Great Void. The only problem is it exists while the Offices are occupied.

  7. Gun Walker - Killed our border agents.

  8. Just like ISIS fighters who waited until our troops withdrew from Iraq to unleash their mayhem, the enemies of civil rights here in America are waiting until Eric Holder leaves to unleash theirs. President Obama better have a fighter every bit as strong as Mr. Holder waiting in the wings, so that there is no letup in fighting for the causes he championed.

  9. Don't worry. American bankers will see to it they get a new AG every bit as much to their liking as Holder.

  10. Mr.Holder also dragged his feet in investigating the IRS blatant abuse of power. This episode, which undermines the rule of law, can not be ignored or forgotten.

  11. I agree with the editorial but must go further in in criticizing the DOJ and the FBI for cover ups of misdeeds by the agencies that have resulted in false imprisonment in Federal jails. Mr. Holder has known about this and so has the FBI and they have chosen to look the other way because the cost and embarrassment would be too great.

  12. I can't think of a worst Attorney General in our nations history.

    He did nothing to go after big bank criminals who crashed our economy in 2008.

    He did nothing to go after previous administration war criminals.

    Good riddance. Thanks for nothing.

  13. "...Mr. Holder used claims of government secrecy and immunity to toss out lawsuits seeking accountability for torture and other criminal abuses committed in the war on terror.
    "...he did not prosecute a single prominent banker or firm in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis that nearly destroyed the economy."

    It's a reflection not on individuals, such as Mr. Holder or President Obama, but on an entire Democratic party that in attitude and outcomes differs little from its counterpart on matters of "security" and elite accountability.

    Illegal actions by the ruling class absolutely should be prosecuted with at least the same fervor directed at alleged lawbreaking by the masses be they suspicious ethnic minorities or middle-class street protesters in NY City.

  14. His single biggest failing was to completely avoid any investigation or prosecution of wrongdoings during the 2007-8 financial crisis, presumably with support of Obama. This is a huge scandal and all the people who committed criminal acts not only got away with it, but they ended up getting rewarded in the long run.

  15. 2007 and 2008 Bush was President. Why didn't his AG start the prosecutions?

    2007 and 2008 Bush was President. Why didn't his AG begin the prosecutions? Al the silence from the commenters here is deafening.

  16. His single biggest failing was to completely avoid any investigation or prosecution of wrongdoings during the 2007-8 financial crisis,.....In fact several banks have been required to pay the largest fines in history. That no individual was prosecuted is true. That there was no significant punitive action is false.

  17. Thank you for pointing out the good things Holder has achieved and tried to achieve.
    I am also amazed I am the first to comment :)

  18. Did no one on the Editorial Board notice the cognitive dissonance in the last two paragraphs? Possibly not, as it pervaded the expectations and performance of this Attorney General. The bankers who broke laws should have been prosecuted.

  19. There was a lot of hope that Eric Holder and Barrack Obama being both the first African Americans to hold their respective offices would have set a new standard of integrity in Federal Government worthy of imitation by future generations. Unfortunately, the only impact that anyone will remember in 100 years is that they were both firsts because of their color and have lowered the expectation of future generations through illicit extraconsitutional activity and elitism. They had an opportunity to unite our country but have chosen to further divide it with hidden agendas, special interests and back door deals. It is evident from every aspec that our country is more polarized, distrustful and seperated that ever.

  20. In talking about dividing the country, David, like many of the commenters here, ignores the elephant in the room. I mean the guys, all Republican men, who met on the eve of Obama's inauguration and vowed to make him fail through obstructionism and false propaganda. Most of the shortcomings of the administration can be blamed on this simple fact (about 50 votes in the House to repeal Obamacare, for example). The GOP would rather have their country fail than have Obama and Holder succeed.

  21. Holder's legacy is that he did not jail or even indict any bankers responsible for the banking disaster in 2008.

  22. Methinks the NYT has cut Holder a bit too much slack. He is, as they supposedly say in Texas, "All hat and no cattle" meaning, in this case, a lot of righteous rhetoric and precious little tangible action to follow it up. Following the Texas metaphor, it's time for Eric to hang up his six-guns and ride into the sunset, something he's obviously realized (n.b. : in this case, "sunset" is probably a plethora of over-compensated corporate board positions and "adviser" status to lobbyists of various stripes).

  23. "he did not prosecute a single prominent banker or firm in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis that nearly destroyed the economy.These are not accomplishments to be proud of."

    WELL SAID! And a nice touch of irony too!

    Apart from letting blatant criminals skate scot-free, who had systematically looted investors and then the Treasury (bail-outs), what did this "precedent" do in terms of emboldening OTHER big-time crooks? And how about the effect on the basic faith on the rule of law of the 99% of the rest of us?

  24. Voting Rights aside, there is no excuse or justfication for the complete failure of the Department of Justice to refuse or abstain from any prosecution of banking executives and investment fund managers for white collar crimes in the financial industry. No Attorney General should be remembered for strenghening Voting Rights or easing unjust criminal sentencing when many of the reasons for both are the result of an unjust financial system. He was just plain afraid to prosecute Big Money, no matter how illegal.

  25. Eric Holder's Legacy: Not holding the too big to fail and jail mega banks such as HSBC accountable for financing drug cartels and terrorism. He didn't send one executive of the big banks to jail for causing the financial crisis of 2007 and bankrupting the country. He just hit them with some fines.

    Instead of being corrupted and controlled by the big banks, Holder and Obama should have shut down their criminal activity through the re imposition of Glass-Steagall and then sent the whole bunch to jail.

  26. I have to agree with you that this was likely Holder's most prominent failure, although personally, I am still seething over the fact that Cheney and his well-controlled Frat Boy were never prosecuted for treason. Destroy the economy, get us into a war on false pretenses (so as to empty the American treasury into Haliburton's coffers), and walk off scott free with bulging pockets. Nothing to see here, Eric. Unprincipled coward.

  27. Beyond letting torturers, war criminals and Wall Street banksters go unpunished
    both News Corp and Wal Mart have gotten free passes for repeated, documented violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

  28. It is sad that no Bankers were prosecuted for issuing the fraudulent mortgages that brought our country to its knees during Mr. Holder’s watch.

  29. I am so sad to see him go. A bold voice like his needs to stick around a while longer.

  30. I worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations. I also campaigned (on my personal time and without use of any resources of the federal government) for Clinton, Kerry and Obama for President. The Bush Administration severely damaged the credibility of the Department of Justice through numerous illegal practices and actions. Unfortunately the Obama Administration failed to right those wrongs through prosecutions and removing numerous individuals placed in key supervisory positions based upon proven loyalty to a Republican agenda. They also allowed many top people on Wall Street and who directed America's largest financial institutions escape prosecution for intentionally and knowingly robbing billions of dollars from the American people and causing the financial crisis of 2008-09. At the same time, Obama and Holder pursued policies that violated the privacy rights (and by extension the free speech rights) of Americans on a massive scale. While they justified this wholesale violation of American constitutional rights as necessary to keep Americans safe, their national security policies severely compromised the key values, principles, and intent of our Republic. Obama and Holder are now spinning themselves as progressive reformers who cleaned up a mess - Just read George Orwell's "1984" and think about it. Shame on Obama and Holder.

  31. Between being an African-American Attorney General and being an Attorney General for African-Americans, he chose the latter.

  32. As a card-carrying member of the human race, Eric Holder may have a few faults. Folks who do not are either God or think they are.

    Mr. Holder has many more strengths than failings, however. Here are a few: courage, integrity, a sense of principle, a commitment to justice and a qreat sense of humor. These qualities will be sorely missed.

    Would that any of his detractors possess a fraction of any ONE of those qualities, let alone all of them.

  33. One must be hard-pressed to come up with a list of relevant "strengths" of an Attorney General to include "a great sense of humor."

  34. Much has been spoken about the differences in sentences for crimes involving crack versus powder cocaine, in cases, it was even insinuated that there was the usual racial overtone to the differences in sentencing involved. As a lawyer who practiced in this area, and also as one who remembers distinctly the great furor that led to or resulted in the pertinent laws making crack cocaine related crimes inviting harsher sentences, I can assert that such differences were brought in exactly because so many wanted them--and that too help the Black community. The idea was that as crack cocaine was more potent, yet cheaper -- it was becoming an epidemic hurting the poor and the Black community more, thus to help stem this tide, such differences in the sentencing were ushered in as a deterrent. Apparently, the expected results were not achieved. Now, it is natural that we get back to level the playing field! Mr. Holder's support was timely and was of course expected.

  35. You seem to conclude that it is obvious, or "natural," that there no longer be any legal distinction between crack and powder cocaine. Yet, one of the central factors in determining appropriate punishment for criminal conduct is the potential or actual harm resulting from such conduct. While many view sentencing disparities between the two forms of the drug as being solely motivated by racial animus, it is arguable, perhaps likely, that crack causes more individual and societal harm than its powdered cousin. If so, punishing crack-related offenses more harshly is appropriate.

  36. The crack epidemic had all black government and all black clergy calling for harsher penalties. 30 years later it was turned into a race issue by Holder and all of the same black clergy and politicians.

  37. It will be interesting to see, as some predict, if Holder will continue through the rotating door, back to his corporate practice at Covington. Keeping that door spinning would explain many of his sins of omission.

  38. Mr Holder's actions to revamp the wasteful and harsh imprisonments so easily handed out are admirable. Unfortunately his record in failing to prosecute lies of war criminals,address torture and abuse, and combat Wall Street fraud that stunned the economies of the world and damaged millions of lives holds the far heavier end of the scale.

  39. And how is it his business in the Justice department to decide what juries or congress has decided is appropriate. He is not!!!

  40. Mr. Holder has quite a legacy. He has been held in contempt by Congress, for lying and refusing to turn over documents. He is the father of a program to give weapons to drug runners. He withdrew charges of voter intimidation days before the judge was set to rule. He has actively suppressed the investigation of IRS criminal acts.

  41. "Mr. Holder has quite a legacy. He has been held in contempt by Congress, for lying and refusing to turn over documents.".......Holder refused to turn over documents regarding internal communications. The Attorney General is a member of the Executive branch and as a cabinet member advises the President. The precedent of separation of powers was established by George Washington when he refused supply Congress with requested internal communications. Requiring the Attorney General to give Congress internal communications is hardly different than if the Attorney General required members of Congress to turn over their internal communications - say for example requiring members of Congress to turn over information about what was discussed in a Republican Caucus. That Holder was held in contempt of Congress is a blot on the record of Congress not Holder.

  42. "Mr. Holder brought more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than during all previous presidencies combined."

    So? Are laws that are on the books supposed to be enforced or not? And is there a class of people, say journalists, who are exempt from the laws of the land?

    What's missing in this editorial is the disrespect and hostility Mr. Holder faced when he went before Congress. Come to think of it, the same happened to another black man, Barack Obama. Just a coincidence I guess.

  43. Well the disrespect went both ways and it is his idea of him deciding which laws to follow and which not to follow which indicates his massive flaws.

  44. AGs at all levels of government make these choices every day due to limited resources. For example, for years state prosecutors refused to seek meaningful punishment for DUI offenders; they also did little about domestic violence. It is not until political groups bring pressure to bear that law enforcement priorities change.

  45. I am not a big Eric Holder fan, but I cannot agree with the editorial's criticism of his national security positions. Persons who ally themselves with other persons or groups who pose a tangible threat to the lives of United States citizens, and aid in building those threats in foreign countries where those threats fester do not have a right under the Constitution to a grand jury indictment and jury trial before they are stopped in their tracks. It is certainly not the indiscriminate killing those persons are planning. If they want a grand jury and trial, they are of course free to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of our courts, but even the New York Times editorial board knows that is not going to happen.

    Government national security secrets are government property. I did not elect Eric Snowden or the New York Times to decide what should and should not be kept secret— I elected Barack Obama. We cannot be secure if anyone in government with a tubular view of what threats we face decides on his own what should and should not be revealed. The government has the right to use legal means to stop the leaks— Congress has a responsibility to use its oversight powers to find out what the government is doing in surveillance, and if it does no like it, it can act.

  46. A puzzling position. You say that the targets of these strikes were "[p]ersons who ally themselves with other persons or groups who pose a tangible threat to the lives of United States citizens, and aid in building those threats." But how do we know this to be the case? Is that not the function of a grand jury indictment and -- lest we forget -- a trial? To permit the executive to, in effect, indict, try, convict, sentence, and punish a person based only upon its assurances of that person's guilt (assurances that, to be sure, many such as yourself would accept) is precisely the evil addressed by our system of criminal justice.

    The grand jury requirement of the federal constitution reflects a distrust of the executive branch to use even its power of prosecution responsibly, without citizens' input. Much less does it trust the executive to render a verdict and carry out a sentence without a trial.

    I happen to agree with you that this administration likely can be trusted to kill mostly only the right people. But procedure is important. If we waive the constitutional requirements of indictment and trial by jury for this president, we cannot easily reinstate them when we find ourselves governed by people less scrupulous.

  47. The problem is in the definition (or pre-defined status) of those who would pose "tangible threats." The DOJ's position has been very expansive. At the same time, the Obama administration has harassed and threatened journalists, and has refused to rule out jailing journalists based solely on the content of their reporting. This should really disturb us.

  48. September 26, 2014

    Historically the esteemed honorable New York Times, has never or ever will be feloniousm, its just that smart.
    Currently Mr. E. Snowden is wanted by federal authorities and surely with unanimity - to stand trial for criminal actions.
    As for Mr. Eric Holder - surely we can all agree deep cross currents was just that and is leaving in grace - smart.

    jja Mahatttan, N.Y.

  49. "On the financial front, [Holder] did not prosecute a single prominent banker or firm in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis that nearly destroyed the economy."

    That's probably the most egregious failing of the Justice Department under Attorney General Holder, but, like the lack of investigation of unwarranted secrecy and use of torture, it seems that Holder was just following the wishes of President Obama in these matters. On issues where Holder had freedom to act on his own initiative, his record has been a good one.

    The record of the Obama administration on secrecy issues and the overzealous prosecution of individuals for "espionage" is a dark one, but the apparently intentional decision to overlook the unethical and likely illegal role of the financial industry in causing the Great Recession, and then bailing the industry out at taxpayer expense, is the blackest mark of all when one considers the number of people who lost jobs and homes and were pushed into poverty.

  50. Good observation about his following his master, but really these bankers probably did nothing criminal. Who should get them is the stockholders that lost a lot of money due to their foolish decisions to loan money to those who really should not have debt. Now I see progressives once again insisting on the poor being loaned money and owning homes etc. that only financially capable should have.

  51. either of you remember that the bail-out of the Banking industry was voted on by our esteemed legislators during the final days of the Bush administration? That the Repeal of Glass Steagall during the Clinton administration (which he wishes he'd vetoed in spite of an inevitable over-ride) made the crash possible....the bankers' actions mostly legal, though inept, immoral, and devastating.

  52. "It seems that Holder was just following the wishes of President Obama...." The "just following orders" defense hardly absolves one of ethical responsibility.

  53. As the most over-turned Justice Dept in history, and the most sycophantic, Holder's best accomplishment was showing up on Day One. And by the by, what happened to the 'most transparent administration in history'?

  54. He should be indicted for obstruction of justice in the IRS case of illegal discrimination against activist conservative groups who were denied the right to participate on an equal footing with similar liberal groups in the 2012 election. The Justice Department has done nothing to seriously investigate that case. We are in the midst of an ongoing coverup as it regards those crimes and Holder is responsible. As this was a case of violation of equal protection under the law, you would think that Holder would be sympathetic to those who were discriminated against.

  55. That claim has been proven false time and again.

  56. I haven't seen a report from the Department of Justice or a special prosecutor that has proven it false. Perhaps you could tell me where to find it. I do know that a lot of computer hard drives have mysteriously crashed and/or disappeared.

    They say the coverup is worse than the crime. In this case, they are both so bad it's hard to say which one is worse.

  57. Incorrect.
    "The inspector general stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention, while only 30 percent of the groups with “progress” or “progressive” were highlighted as potentially political"

  58. Once again, NY Times defies stereotypes of the "liberal media" by reporting on the good, the bad & the ugly of our Attorney General. If only undemanding Fox News viewers could step away from their echo chamber for a moment and see this.

  59. C'mon man, do you watch Fox News? They do that all the time. Perhaps you need to get out of your NYT/LA Times/Mother Jones/Salon/MSNBC echo chamber.

  60. Holder's tenure is marred primarily by the fact that not a single member of the financial elite has gone to jail, despite the greatest transfer of public assets to corporations (ie banks) and individuals ever, driving our country and the world into a recession, downsizing every wage earning American, and laughing about it. When banks have been proven to be laundering billions for drug cartels, and the Attorney General does nothing about, I think you have more than "leadership" problems.

  61. The trouble is that, in my understanding, none of those bankers did anything illegal. Sneaky, shady, underhanded, greedy, yes. Illegal? I haven't heard of anything proven.

  62. Marred by a refusal to investigate the IRS, take responsibility for his mistakes, and failure to support laws in the proper way.

  63. "I haven't heard of anything proven." Of course you haven't. It is the Attorney General's (and the prosecutors under him) job to provide such proof. When the nation's top prosecutor abdicates the obligations of his office there is no opportunity to legally prove even the most glaring criminality.

  64. As an Attorney General, he was a politician that saw a country through racial lenses. Instead of following the law and prosecute without bias, he drove a partisan agenda. Good riddance.

  65. How many prosecutors will cooperate with Holder to seek drug prisoners for possible early release?

    Very few ex felons will vote GOP, so congress is unlikely to liberalize felon voting laws. They're trying to reduce voting rights even for non felons.

    The big question is, with pot legalization in some places, will prisoners stay locked up for pot possession or sales, etc, while their prison guards can smoke legal pot after they get off duty? When does that lawsuit start? Maybe pot use will leave the guards more mellow and curb some of their authoritarian tendencies.

    The article linked to in April says the DOJ “would consider clemency for nonviolent felons who have served at least 10 years in prison, in the light of today’s more lenient sentencing. But the amount may only be in the hundreds."
    Says the clemency policy change is "unlikely to make a sizable dent in the federal prison population of about 216,000 inmates. The new policy does not affect the roughly two million inmates in state prisons.”
    So does America still remain similar to Stalin’s gulag? While we argue about the costs of upkeep?

    “These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system,” Mr. Cole said. What an understatement. Our criminal INjustice system.

  66. We can agree that "[I]n a job of exasperating complications and irreconcilable conflicts, Mr. Holder has worked to increase justice for many of America’s most dispossessed or forgotten citizens".

    We note that his record of protecting and strengthening the individual freedoms of Americans is less than stellar, as evidenced by his disregard of certain commonly accepted rights and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. These include approval of extrajudicial killing of American citizens, approval of actions causing erosion of Freedom of the Press, and inaction concerning application of the law equally to all citizens, (e.g. "[H]e did not prosecute a single prominent banker or firm in connection with the subprime mortgage
    crisis that nearly destroyed the economy").

    I believe that the Founding Fathers built "elasticity" or "evolutionary mechanisms" into the Constitution so the ideals of freedom and justice could be maintained over time and ensuing societal change. This is evidenced by use of the Equal Protection Clause (14th Amendment) to both justify (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1898) and deny (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954) the concept of "Separate but Equal" in US law.

    Are the concepts of fundamental human rights and justice equally malleable? Depends...don't be afraid to vote with your feet...


  67. The worst thing he did was help Bill Clinton pardon the Puerto Rican bombers on the last day of Clinton's presidency so Hilary could get the Puerto Rican vote when she ran for the Senate. A despicable act on the parts of all three.

  68. Small oversight: the week Holder decided not to prosecute the CIA for the treatment of detainees in US custody (tortured to death) he decided not to prosecute Goldman Sachs for selling mortgage securities (whatever they are) the company itself was betting would fail.

    As for "Last year, he ordered federal prosecutors to be more lenient toward low-level drug offenders..."

    As opposed to ordering it six years ago, you mean?

    Holder was one of the worst AG's in our history. Up there with Edwin Meese.

  69. Once again, people are disappointed. Holder didn't go after bankers. What made people think he would?

  70. Eric Holder's legacy will be the same as President Obama's. Both will be defined by their glaring failures and deceit; both will follow in the footsteps and be consumed by the dark shadows of LBJ - all tragic and unnecessary.

  71. I watched a video of a congressional committee asking holder if he would interfere with banks that work with marijuana dispensaries…he said 'no'…while i watched, i had a letter in my hand from holder directing b of a, and chase bank not to work with mmj customers (i'm a defense lawyer)….it was an orwellian experience. Bush told the truth; he said 'vote for me and i'll make more wars and put more people in prison, and deport more people and give all the money to banks and oil companies. obama, said the opposite and did exactly what bush did

  72. Mr. Holder also showed himself to be a true friend of the financial industry. His Justice Department arrested absolutely no one for any of the multitude of criminal acts that contributed so greatly to the financial train wreck of 2008. It will be very interesting if Mr. Holder will walk through that well worn revolving door into some white shoe law firm or investment bank.

  73. And if he does how many Republicans will he be following? Where is your letter
    professing your indignation about the path that Cantor took?

  74. For all of Mr Holder's considerable achievements (which go far, far beyond those noted in this review) the Times finds it irresistible to adhere to the cavilling tone it has taken on this administration for the past two years.

  75. Your assessment of Holder's accomplishment is fair and objective. His many small triumphs in areas of same sex marriage and Voting rights represented pandering to the base of Democratic party. His larger failures in areas of national significance - failures such as lack of prosecution of banksters, gutting of 4th amendment protection, botched fast and furious operation, and lack of prosecution of those suspected of torture and of those who authorized it - will have a much more pronounced impact on his legacy.

    On balance, he won small battles but failed to fight larger, more important wars.

    #Failed leadership.

  76. All of the things that you mention that he did not do, probably had no basis in law. Ignoring the law is his worst attribute and pressing race as the most important issue ignores the history of massive change.

  77. So you are saying that voting rights are the special province of the Democrats..
    Republicans must be about the business of preventing Democrats from going to the polls eh? Better look up the 15th Amendment and who was responsible for it.

  78. Seriously, I love the NYTimes. But, I could swear that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio snuck into the editorial board's inner sanctum and wrote this opinion, or at least inspired it, except for the very last sentence, which would be anathema to them (Cruz and Rubio). I will not, like days of old, say: "cancel my subscription."

  79. Our nation has become one of tear down and put down. Now the NYT is joining in the jollity.

  80. He put race where it did not belong. He blamed laws rather than criminals. He has done far more to hurt the first black President's legacy than help it. I consider him a truly bad person who has done evil. I voted for Obama twice but Holder has made me question my choices.

  81. Eric Holder was a pretty bad Attorney General, who did some good things. Ordinarily, he would have joined the scrap heap of bad Attorney Generals and the memory of his administration would have been lost in time... except that he was the First Black Attorney General, working in the First Black Presidency. So his term of mediocrity and bad, secretive Big Brother actions will be studied and remembered. Unfortunate for him, but that's how he used his opportunity.

  82. More directly is his many instances of refusing to follow the law and deciding which need his attention. Not to mention his lack of cooperation with congress.

  83. Mr. Holder may have won some battles but lost the war. Whatever advances he made in civil rights and judicial reform were overshadowed by failures to deal with financial fraud and government malfeasance. His failures fanned the flames of partisanship and did nothing to restore faith in the office. In short, mediocre at best.

  84. This left wing arena is filled with posts stating that, because Holder enraged the GOP, he is excellent.

    Gridlock thrives here!

  85. Eric Holder made great “contributions” to the development of an Imperial Presidency. The Constitution is only of use when he wants to make use of it. Otherwise, it is irrelevant. In addition, he is often a bigot, just as are many of those who he sometimes reasonably berates.

    I’ve read Times editorials and comments for decades. Few of their numerous regressive “Progressive” readers probably will agree with me. Meanwhile, they often will thwart much real progress of “The People”, and look to blame everyone but themselves. If they REALLY want to improve matters, they might read some of the writings of Democrats and leftwing people such as Professor Jonathan Turley. While I believe they also fall far short in various areas, they are much more in tune with methods that would improve Government greatly.

  86. A fair assessment of Holder's "legacy." Too bad it was so split. Thankfully he did speak up for race and gender minority rights and should be commended for that, there are too few of those in Obama's administration these days. But his positions were painfully misguided on accountability of torture transgressions, on giving a free pass to bankers (personal interest may have played a role since he had previously worked--and probably will return to work--in a corporate law firm. His role as a civil servant and as a lackey of capital may have clashed here. Finally his ruthless persecution of Snowden and his prosecutions under the Espionage Act are disgraceful, at the level of previous GA John Yoo. The missteps trumped the modest steps. Farewell.

  87. For all that matter, AG Holder's Legacy is far better then Nixon's John Mitchell, Reagan's Ed Meese, William French Smith, Bush W's Ashcroft, Alberto Ganzales, and Michael Mukasey, and some others. With Obama, Eric Holder being the first African American President and AG, conservative republican bigotry and racism are two prime factors. Now then if we only had somebody like Thurgood Marshall as the US Supreme Court Chief Justice, instead of Robert's who could not even remember two lines of the Mandatory Swearing in oath. Things would have been totally different. In my opinion President's Obama's best choice is to nominate US Attorney Preet Bharara,

  88. Mr. Holder is a champion of the disparate impact standard, which would hold companies liable for racial or gender descrimination, not on the basis of demonstrable intent, but because they failed to hire minorities or women in proportion to their numbers in a comparable residential population. The standard is the foundation of an extortion scheme that would sap productive businesses of financial resources and the American economy of jobs. In an era when technology is already reducing employment opportunities, we do not need champions of privileged groups, like Mr. Holder, we need government officials who forbear from interference in private enterprise.

  89. Thanks to Attorney General Holder for his service in seeking justice in a system all too bent in the opposite way, especially in keeping the nation mindful of the blatant racism many white folks rarely experience and know little about.

  90. While the Holder Justice Department actively prosecuted bank robbers and individuals submitting false financial information to banks to obtain mortgages, DOJ failed and refused to prosecute even one prominent banker for their intentional actions which nearly destroyed the U.S. economy and caused immense financial suffering in the U.S. and elsewhere. So if you rob a bank of $1,000 you will be prosecuted, but if you are a banker fraudulently misleading investors and Fannie and Freddie you can keep your ill gotten millions in bonuses for causing the financial havoc in which the banker personally benefitted. Bankers need not worry about prosecution or actions to cause disgorgement of those ill gotten bonuses.

    Our nation is committed to equal justice under the law except when it comes to campaign contributing bankers.

  91. The Wall Street crooks must be sorry to see Holder go.

  92. Let's look at Holder's accomplishments:

    - Dismissed the New Black Panthers case about 10mins after he is sworn in;
    - Fast & Furious gun running case. At least one American law-enforcement agent killed. Holder has yet to account and has actually stone-walled the investigation. Has been held in contempt of Congress.
    - is suing the Little Sisters of the Poor over the Obamacare "law". How low is that?
    - has sued more than one state over their ability to weed out dead people and illegals from voting within them own state.
    - has done nothing regarding the IRS investigation. In fact, he has stone-walled that as well.
    - sent 40 FBI agents to Ferguson to investigate a perceived racial animus case. To date, no evidence of racial animus. Simultaneously, as the slaughter of innocent minorities continues in places like Chicago, he has done nothing to investigate or prevent the slaughter.

    Also, let's not forget his resume before he was AG: His firm represented more Gitmo terrorists than all other firms combined. The Marc Rich pardon. The FALN pardons, etc.

    Worst. AG. Ever. Makes John Mitchell look good in comparison.

  93. It is easy to forget the constitutional smash-and-grabs committed by Bush's last two AG's, Gonzalez and Mukasy, both of whom struggled to create absolute presidential power at the expense of civil liberties and, eventually, the national economy.

    For all his flaws, Holder restored some respect to that office, and reintroduced the rule of law.

  94. There are two things I, for one, wish the editorial had included in the Eric Holder “legacy.”

    One is Mr. Holder’s acting as the alter ego of the president in playing the race card. The second is Mr. Holder’s status as point man in the cover-up of Lois Lerner/ IRS. The first was designed to, and did, stifle legitimate criticisms of the president in order to lessen consideration of those criticisms on the merits. The second has kept under investigatory wraps at the executive level the criminal aspect of the intrusion of the IRS into the 2012 presidential election.

    These aspects of the Holder legacy come on top of Mr. Holder having engineered the presidential pardon of fugitive Marc Rich when Mr. Holder was at the Justice Department during the Clinton Administration.

  95. Eric thac Holder may have faults but being black is not one. In previous columns in the NYT and other outlets, the hate toward Holder and Obama is very frightening.The President has been very muted in all things black while Holder has been a scapegoat for the Limbaugh/Gohmert induced hysteria.For al the talk from the 'right' about being the protector of religion and the Constitution, contrary to 'liberalism' being the downfall of the US, it is the mindless trashtalk from these 'regressives' that is disabling us.

  96. I think I have not see the amount of hatred and disrespect of any Attorney General by the right and by the media in my lifetime. For Conservative Republicans, it is about their hatred of African Americans. inn particular those in the halls of power and the community in general. Some of the African Americans attacked by Republicans were:
    President Obama and Michelle Obama and kids
    Van Jones
    Shirley Sherrod
    Lisa Jackson
    Eric Holder
    Susan Rice
    and on and on.
    The amazing part of all this was the role played by the media in all of this.

  97. Maybe most of those people are just awful for America and it has nothing to do with the color of their skin -- is that even a possibility for you?

  98. You forgot to mention brokering the pardon of FALN terrorists, representing more terrorists in Gitmo than any other law firm, Fast and Furious (allowing assault weapons into Mexico), spying on AP and Fox reporters, dismissing the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers, et al. Quite a legacy.

  99. Attorney General Holder's priorities were right. There is nothing more sacred than the right to vote in a democracy. Once that has been established for everyone issues of a plutocracy generated by the likes of the Koch brothers to Goldman Sachs will cease to exist. If Republicans had approved the additional funding the Department of Justice requested perhaps resources to deal with expanding priorities would be available.

  100. "There is nothing more sacred than the right to vote in a democracy."

    Or pointless.

    Democracy. The best method yet devised for minority rule. Joe Sobran.

  101. Eric Holder and his appointees were a breath of fresh air after the incompetent Alberto Gonzalez and a Bush Justice Department full of appointees who had to be religious right wingers to get a job there. And before the pitiful Gonzalez we had Janet Reno who caused destruction at Ruby Ridge and Waco and involved the U.S. in that kidnapping in Miami. Take a look at the AG's, Republican and Democrat, and Holder is a stand out.

  102. Holder was a secretive, incompetent, political hack. From fast and furious to calling the USA a nation of cowards concerning race.Good riddance.

  103. He was a divisive figure who held himself above the law and selectively enforced it. Whenever there was a complaint about his performance, he always played the race card. Good riddance.

  104. His departure is a blessing for this country. The magnitude of his civil rights accomplishments is grossly overshadowed by the severity of what he did NOT do regarding privacy and financial reform. In fact, despite a hostile Congress, even some mainstream Republicans have called for the same type of civil rights reform as what we are now praising Holder for (namely Newt Gingrich for reducing minimum sentences and Rob Portman for gay marriage rights.)

    On the other hand, the #1 thing which has so sharply defined American politics in the Obama years - the financial collapse and resulting economy - deserved the strongest response from the Justice Department against Wall Street criminals. And here, Holder and Obama chose to do exactly nothing to prosecute the people who brought this country to its knees. This inaction will forever define his tenure as AG.

    Enjoy your retirement, Holder. Something tells me you'll wind us as a "consultant" to one of these financial warlords you worked so tirelessly to keep out of prison.

  105. Will be interesting to see his next move. Will he meet up with Lanny Breuer and join a white-collar defense firm? Or will he pursue, in court or in the public arena, the financial and national security villains he failed to nail while in office?

  106. The job of AG is not to decide which laws to enforce, or to act cute during Congressional hearings. I would be interested to see how a Republican AG would be viewed doing the same thing. Holder has done a terrible job as AG, with the exception of covering for his boss. The Supreme Court has shot down those two more than any other pair in history. After his push for the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich, I'm surprised he was even selected.

  107. Not just the first attorney general to to be held in contempt by Congress, but also the most contemptable since John Mitchell. Holder announced his racialist attitudes in the first weeks after his confirmation and stayed true to that muddled ideal right through his dismissal of the New Black Panthers, the packing of the Justice Department Civil Rights division with dangerous ideologues, the misguided attacks on the legitimate efforts of states to infuse the voting pricess with legitimacy by implementing voter Id laws, and finally by super-heating the racial divisions in Ferguson. Add all that to his deceptive and destructive efforts in the Fast and Furious case, the pathetic attempt to try war criminals in civilian courts, and a myriad of other failures, and many will agree that we are well rid of the man who corruptly issued the Mark Rich pardon

  108. Given Obama's record on war crimes and drones, his best choice for a new AG would be John Yoo!

  109. Obama already has his own John Yoo, but given the former is an East Coast elite, Obama of course leans on another Harvard man to justify illegal drone bombing and the killing of US citizens overseas without due process. John Yoo was just the warm-up act.

  110. If you were to ask Americans whether or not people received justice under our legal system, I think that the answer would be 'no." At best, a yes or no answer would be heavily qualified. This, in part, is Eric Holder's legacy, though he is not the one who is solely responsible.

    Capital punishment is going out of favor in most states and with most people for the simple reason that there is no presumption of justice when an individual in executed for a crime. Though this person may deserve death for what he or she has done, we are now aware of all the guilty people who literally "get away with murder" because they have the money to buy effective legal defense.

    The Wall Street scandal -- that continues to be a growing scandal, by the way -- is another case in point. No major individual or institution involved in crashing our economy and instilling a low level of confidence in our financial system has been prosecuted by the Justice Department. This is in contrast to the hundreds who went to jail after the Savings & Loan crash... To simply shake down the offenders with heavy fines while not punishing felonious guilt is not justice -- it is just the new "cost of doing business," and government becomes the beneficiary of this legalized corruption.

    This is a legacy that strikes to the heart of what we are as a society.

  111. Attorney General Eric Holder's legacy – the first and only sitting Cabinet member in 225 years to be cited for contempt of Congress. As well as the rank politicization of the highest law enforcement department in the country.

    As for all the Holder apologist who appear not to care about legitimate Congressional oversight of the Executive branch (which was the basis for the contempt charges against Holder for failing to turn over appropriately requested documents for Congress to review) - this was a bipartisan vote with the following 17 Democrats voting for holding Holder in contempt:

    Jason Altmire (D-Pa.)
    John Barrow (D-Ga.)
    Dan Boren (D-Okla.)
    Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa)
    Ben Chandler (D-Ky.)
    Mark Critz (D-Pa.)
    Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
    Kathleen Hochul (D-N.Y.)
    Ron Kind (D-Wis.)
    Larry Kissell (D-N.C.)
    Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
    Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.)
    William Owens (D-N.Y.)
    Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
    Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.)
    Mike Ross (D-Ark.)
    Timothy Walz (D-Minn.)

  112. You conveniently forgot to mention that the contempt of Congress vote was demanded as a litmus test by the NRA. The contempt of Congress vote was not bi-partisan, it was coerced through intimidation. Sad, but true.

  113. All too many presidents have appointed Attorneys General for the sole purpose of protecting them from the people. Eric Holder, as President Obama noted, was appointed to be "the people's lawyer" and to protect the people from those seeking to extend their power by circumventing the law. His record of achievement, as you noted, is truly remarkable. He left with much important work unfinished that I hope his successor will complete. Farewell to a good man with a big heart and a strong sense of "justice for all."

  114. He is leaving with the record of protecting the President and the people in the President's administration to the exclusion of the very people whose lawyer he is alleged to be.

  115. Many letters seem to be missing the obvious. This is a POLITICAL appointment. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable within limits, of course, for an AG to represent the priorities of his boss.

  116. Good riddance to a divisive, biased, self-loathing politician who made no effort to mete out justice equally for all American citizens.

  117. A lot of hatred will be expressed toward Holder. A lot of it will be nonsense and reflect one's own proclivities but we live in an age where hate is a real growth industry. No one is exempt. We just hate everybody and hate radio and TV is where we should be putting our money. Holder will be defined as the worst AG of all time just as Obama is perceived by many as the worst President of all time.Hillary will become our next worst President of all time....and so it goes.

  118. You're forgetting John Kerry. Worst sec. of state of all time. (One person and one person alone in this world thought Israel would make a peace deal w Palestinians without being forced to. Unfortunately for the world, that person was the US secretary of state.)

    And Congress. Worst ever, and never going to see anything worse.

  119. "In tracking the sources of leaks, prosecutors seized phone and email records of journalists who were doing their jobs." I am sorry but in day of TMZ and journalist who put equal weight on each and every opinion no matter how misguided, it is becoming harder and harder to see why Journalists need any legal protection at all.

    Legal protections were created for Journalist not opinion broadcasters!

  120. That is one strange legacy.

  121. Perhaps "he did not prosecute a single prominent banker or firm in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis that nearly destroyed the economy" because it would force the government to defend its prominent role in the affair. The dark, seamy relationship of big financial/big government/big business remained so through his tenure.

  122. That, Mulder, is all the more reason why an Attorney General SHOULD prosecute.

    It is a shame that neither the Obama administration of the NY Times Editorial Board cannot see that holding people accountable, both private actors and government enablers, is the way that the rule of law and tenets of good governance requires such action.

  123. Mr. Holder is responsible for taking the radical, un-American, outrageous idea that the law of the land should be applied differently depending on the size of one's corporation and turning it into a principle of the American justice system. He believes there is and, more importantly, should be a principle called "Too Big to Jail". He followed that principle every day as Attorney General. That insult to our founding fathers destroys one of the core principles this nation was founded on. Nothing else Mr. Holder did comes even close in its long-term impact.

  124. The inability to close Guantanamo and the unwillingness to rein in the NSA and the like are political decisions by President Obama. The country is in a serious moral dilemma which President Obama for whatever reason has taken the course of declining freedom and privacy. On Race, Mr. Holder was correct to be very skeptical of the white power structure in Ferguson MO. The activities they engaged in are not an isolated instance in this country. Certainly the voter fraud vendetta of the Republicans is completely misplaced and obviously being pursued for political purposes and so Holder was right to sue them in court.

  125. Thanks You, Attorney General Holder, for your stellar service to help restore democracy in America. It is America's shame that you have had to endure extreme race hating and you are a courageous man for serving OUR country longer than any other Attorney General in history. Best wishes in your next endeavor.

  126. Restore democracy? Tell that the the AP, Fox, and CBS journalists that were spied on by Eric Holder's DOJ.

  127. Holder was a civil rights activist at the expense of being Attorney General of the United States.
    His racial bias was clear and often-expressed. As Attorney General, he was a disgrace -- possibly the worst ever.
    As another reader commented, if you think Eric Holder was a good AG, you'll be happy to have Al Sharpton as his replacement!

  128. You argue that Holder served his own race, but it was much overdue after white AGs served there own race for decades. The Black race sorely needed representation in the justice system; the systemic bias in the enforcement of drug laws is indisputable.

  129. Some may recall that Holder declined to enforce voting rights in Philadelphia, when Black Muslims picketed polling places and interfered with voter access to those polling places. His role in the Fast and Furious gun case was, at a minimum, not useful.
    Suffice it to say that Holder has been very active is supporting the civil rights of selected minorities, and passive at best in several other areas of civil rights.
    If he has had a role in efforts to revise criminal sentencing guidelines, it has been behind the scenes --- probably a good approach.
    His role in enforcing or not enforcing border security is one that deserves debate.
    Maybe his major contribution to the O-Ring has been to be a lightning rod for the president, who surely is going to need another lightning rod.

  130. The Banksters got off Scott Free, and I would have thought that that would have been impossible back in 2009. The Security State grew far beyond even what Bush and Cheney could have conceived. But he was the first black Attorneys General so he must have been great...right? Oh! And liberal although he certainly wasn't in any sort of active sense. He was great at photo-ops towards the end though. I actually saw him in photos with some famous liberals. Maybe that counts?

  131. Eric Holder is the rubber stamp behind Obama's rampant abuse of the constitution. He will not be missed.

  132. It's amazing to me that so few of the commenters seem to have no clue how the verdict of history is reached on elected and appointed officials of the government. They pick out one fact about a person, in this case Attorney General Holder, strain it through their palpable bias, and then proclaim that Holder was the worst attorney general in our history. Most of these self-proclaimed deciders probably couldn't even name George W. Bush's attorney general, who indeed was a disaster. History judges by the whole body of work of a person. For example, many history books condemn LBJ for the escalation in Vietnam but afford him high praise for his accomplishments in domestic affairs. Rightly so. Such perspective and fairness is hard to come by in these pages.

    Although I think the NYT was more negative about Holder than history will be, it at least made an attempt to be "fair and balanced."

  133. He was his bosses guy. That was him at his core. We will never know who Eric Holder was because he was Barack Obama's mouthpiece. Period. Criticisms of him are the same criticisms of the President. He did nothing more nor anything less than his boss asked of him.

    What that means for the independence of the AG office in the future is unclear. But the AG office has been forever politicized.

  134. I am struck by the very luke warm comments about our Attorney General. However, I must say that though I too was disappointed that he did not go after Wall Street, I am equally aware that the country - read Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Independents - have no stomach for that process. Such an effort would have been divisive and would have rained down the kind of vileness on the administration that we can only imagine. I say that it was enough that new rules, albeit weak rules, were promulgated and that there is now widespread agreement that Wall Street needs to be reigned in. Let us see what the next AG does.
    And congratulations, Mr. Holder.

  135. "I too was disappointed that he did not go after Wall Street".....You seem to be over looking the fact that several of the banks have been required to pay the largest fines in history - multi $billion dollar fines. What you mean to say is that in spite of the fines you are disappointed that no individuals were prosecuted.

  136. That's transparently silly and ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of Americans across the political and ideological spectrum were clearly hungry for investigations, prosecutions and convictions of those who knowingly perpetuated financial fraud on the country and world. It's simply dishonest to suggest otherwise and try to justify Holder's failure to do that as being for the best national interest and to avoid a messy and drawn out partisan fight. That doesn't pass the laugh test.

    Plus, it was the right, necessary and legally mandated thing to do. If you commit a crime, you go to jail, period!

  137. Those fines were entirely tax-deductible. Therefore the US taxpayer paid them, not the criminals.

  138. Mr. Holder should also face severe criticism for DOJ's relentless prosecution of Aaron Swartz which led to his tragic suicide last year. I think the Justice Department has a long way to go in terms of restoring its credibility and integrity.

  139. Holder is a destructive and divisive partisan who found it impossible to serve us all. His behavior in Fergusin is just the latest example of his failure to discern his role and inability to go beyond his small and petty partisan views.

    Good riddance.

  140. In these comments there's still a lot of rage because he's black and represented a black president. He can't be judged fairly by people with those views. They claim he caused gridlock when it was the republicans who declared war on him and Obama and decided not to let them do anything. They were that terrified of them. They blocked everything they could through his whole administration and continue to do so to this day. Even when he advocated ideas they developed, they opposed him. They just changed their positions.

  141. I just read most the comments, didn't see that sentiment expressed once.

  142. Read them again please.

  143. "I don't like him because he keeps playing the race card" does not mean the same thing as "I don't like him because he is black."

  144. Even though I hold both Mr. Holder & his boss president Obama responsible for a failure of will to hold the criminals of the financial industry accountable personally for their actions I think if we are honest neither political party really wanted that to happen. Big money holds our political process hostage in ways both subtle & gross & both parties in the main are beholden to it. Despite rhetoric to the contrary the Obama administration isn't a liberal one & the Holder justice department is a poster child for how far right the Democrats have drifted in so many ways.

  145. I can't believe that the prosecutions you'd like to have happened would have helped the recovery or not created so much backlash that ACA and other important reforms could not have taken place. I think Holder and Obama have picked their battles well.

  146. Holder is a disgrace as AG. Not only has he condoned criminal actions committed by his owners, the Wall Street bankers, but he has also encouraged such actions.

  147. Naw.. Holder is just another politically motivated public official. All organizations in the history of mankind are ran for the benefit of those that run them.. or in Bush's case, ruin them. To view any Administration as anything other than a "wide world of wrestling smack down" is foolish.

  148. I think this man was the best attorney general we've had in a long time. He spoke out. He kept issues on the front burner. He failed abysmally to punish Wall St., but other than that I consider him the man on the white horse.

  149. He was uber-sensitive to his race. Always on the brink of accusing someone as racist when they challenged him. He used this posture when cornered and pressed for answers he did not want to provide. Spying on reporters was the worst violation of ethics and law.

  150. Well, you do a better job than I could of explaining why Holder was a disgrace to his office and to his country. Your pluses are failing to enforce the law (same sex marriage), working hard to get felons the vote, and making voting fraud easier. How laudible!

    You do mention persecution of journalists but frame it as excessive worry about "leaks." Sure, whatever. Unmentioned? "We are a nation of cowards," being held in contempt by Congress, giving guns to Mexican cartels which were then used to kill a Border Patrol agent, then stonewalling the investigation. A failure to execute Khalid Sheik Mohammed (but then he only had six years!). A junior-varsity attempt (as our president would say) to bring Gitmo trials to New York City. A failure to do anything about IRS abuses against the president's political opponents.

    Holder was Obama's consigliere and the president needed one. Not sure what he'll do now. But perhaps confirmation hearings will give Republicans a chance to find out what the most corrupt administration in U.S. history is up to.

  151. And he favored his own race at every opportunity, which you failed to report throughout his term. And his public alignment with the Brown family at the same time his DOJ agents were interviewing witnesses and investigating officer Wilson was and is a misuse of power, which you also failed to point out.

  152. The DOJ under his watch has done a great deal to prosecute predatory lenders and has found genius ways to extinguish some of their methods of predation. I honor him, and Obama, for this.

  153. Too little. Too late.

  154. Holder extended the depth and reach of the police state farther, weakening protection for civil liberties. He and Obama instituted a reign of terror against journalists, weakening the Constitutional guarantee of a free press. Perhaps worst of all, the Holder legacy has been the destruction of any moral hazard to curb the corruption, greed and recklessness of Wall Street that has fundamentally worsened economic reality for most Americans, guaranteeing that it will certainly happen again. Good riddance.

  155. Holder acted as the president's attorney not the people's attorney

  156. The Attorney General does not get to choose which laws to enforce and which laws are unconstitutional. To do so is malfeasance and a usurpation of the Judiciary. But, AG's most egregious acts were to stall, obfuscate, and mislead Congress. He did not serve the public's interest. He served his own.

  157. How is it that the NY Times failed to note that Holder is the first Attorney General in our history that was cited for Contempt of Congress and for his illegal stonewalling on providing subpoenaed documents to a sitting Committee of the House of Representatives?

    How is it that the NY Times Editorial Board failed to note his flagrant disregard of both the law and the rights of citizens when he chose not to prosecute paramilitary thugs in Philadelphia for their attempts to intimidate voters at a polling place?

    Could it be that the NY Times is in favor of the most senior legal official in our nation not willing to uphold the laws of our nation as passed by the duly authorized legislature and signed into law by our President?

  158. There was a time when liberals in general, and this paper in particular, were focused on process and fairness. Those days are long gone. Now it's outcomes. If Holder was working for things left-wing people support, why then the ends justify the means.

  159. Eric "could of, should of, would of" Holder.

  160. He certainly staked out strong positions. But I'm not sure that if one counted the wins and losses that losses wouldn't dramatically outnumber wins. His was an in-your-face approach to law enforcement that, rather than bringing the country along with interpretations of law that furthered progressive principles, sought to ram those interpretations down everyone's throat. This makes the scant wins targets for revisionism by less progressive future AGs, presidents and congresses.

    It's certainly about what positive change one can create. But it's more about what positive change one can create that will live forever and become a part of what most Americans define as American.

    He resorted to the doctrine of disparate impact to an extent that many thought opportunistic, not to redress legitimate wrongs but to secure for specific interests a larger piece of a pie that only some thought was due and fair -- while massively imposing on corporations and governing bodies to secure those interests.

    He failed far more than he succeeded with voting rights; and I'd suggest that he did more harm than good on this issue by seeking to impose a central, highly progressive definition of such rights irrespective of individual state disagreements. It will be harder in future to broaden voting rights due to his actions and the bad feeling he's left behind.

    All the rest was a mixed bag. He will be remembered for his outrage, not for any ability to bring us together.

  161. Too many commenters here seem to think that new administration can and should just swoop in and start arresting coroporate CEOs and throwing them in jail because they don't like the results of a free economy, however rough and tumble. Such purges are going on in other parts of the world, most notably Russia, and the results are not pretty. The idea that the government needs to punish those who happened to make too much money (or, as the cliche goes, "obscene amounts of money"), even though they were acting entirely within the law, should be abhorrent to all those who enjoy the benefits of the world's most free economy in a country where the standard of living for nearly every American of every economic class is the envy of the world.

    Be careful of what you wish for.

  162. They may have acted within the letter of the law, but they acted (and continue to do so) in a way that very deliberately took advantage of people, such as offering mortgages to people they knew (yes they did!) wouldn't be able to keep up with ballooning payments.

    They also helped to write the laws that protect themselves. If the mafia had similar lobbying muscle can you imagine what our laws against violent crime would be like?

  163. Were it only so.

    You seem to think that it's a rough and tumble but level playing field out there. That thought excludes the moneyed interests that worked to repeal the fiscal protections put in place to remedy the catastrophic events of the Great Depression. Glass-Stiegal is probably the best example. The repeal of these protections assumes that the associated human failings which caused their incorporation can also be repealed.

    Sadly that is not the case.

  164. The most intelligent, thoughtful, and accurate letter I have read.

  165. The government has a duty to prosecute leakers of national security information. There will always be a tension between the interest of the press in publishing, and the interest of the government in protecting secrets. No government can signal that anyone is free to publish anything it considers vital to national security. The Times would be more honest if it would disclose its natural bias in these cases.

  166. Interested to see if Holder will now be offered a cushy spot at since he awarded it unfettered control of the publishing industry at the expense of free enterprise.

  167. Good bye and good riddens, Mr. Holder.

    I hope the US can return to an unpoliticized application of the rule of law.

    Your personalizing of the application of laws to be upheld and prosecuted was a blemish on America's judicial system.

    I am quite surprised you lasted this long, and await the discovery of the latest coverup and or misstep that may have prompted your departure.

  168. Holder like other "legal types" failed to support the US Constitution's Separation Clause vis a vis "same sex marriage." The term "marriage" is a religious construct, not a social one. Thus, I am surprised that Holder et al never sought to expunge the term from civil statutes. The irony extends to our "political right" who see themselves as legal principled guardians of "privacy" and so I ask again: why do we support the notion that the Government is allowed to define a domestic albeit economic agreement as a sexual one? Without the term marriage to define such, the controversy would vanish. Why is "big brother" allowed to trample on private rights? The freedom to enter into a domestic agreement on economic grounds. Why do we as a nation condone the Govt deciding for us.. that any such agreement be a sexual one? Versus, simply two humans living under the same roof sharing economic benefits. Time to put "marriage" back in church, not city hall. "let our people go."

  169. "Mr. Holder has worked to increase justice for many of America’s most dispossessed or forgotten citizens."

    I have to wonder if the New York Times lives in an alternate universe from the rest of us.

    When women went to the Supreme Court to seek redress for violence against them they consistently needed to turn to independent parties, like the ACLU, not Eric Holder's Justice Department, to plead their case.

    How about equal pay for women? Where was Eric Holder, especially when these cases reached the Supreme Court?

    Where was Eric Holder's Justice Department when it came to prosecuting and jailing those responsible for the Great Recession?

    Do I need to go on?

    Eric Holder, like his boss, Mr,. Obama, is long on rhetoric but short on results, especially when it came to protecting the rights of the "forgotten" and "dispossessed."

  170. Very well said. Of Obama, Holder and many who worked under them, it will be said "They did some good", which of course they did. But not nearly as much as they needed to, and knew they needed to.

    Someone please show me one thing they did, good or bad, that truly challenged or upset the money and power elite of this country.

  171. What strikes me in these many letters is that all of them wish that Holder had pursued certain priorities over others (their own priorities). It is simply impossible to pursue all of these priorities with a limited number of resources. Also, is it possible that some institutions are too bi to fail?

  172. Benghazi, Lois Lerner and the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, etc. etc. No mention of these in his legacy? Not surprising

  173. A.G. Holder is no "Lawyer of the People". He enabled Government spying on many millions of innocent and good Americans. He is a G-Man. Obama is just another lying politician who knows the power of Television.

  174. Moral turpitude! Two words that describe the character of "ALL" politicians and especially Mr. Holder!!

  175. He will be remembered for his politicalization of the office, his being in contempt of Congress, his delay tactics in stalling Congressional investigations, his covering for Obama, and his 9 losses in front of the SCOTUS proving the constitutional overreach of this administration.

  176. Perfect! As I expected no mention of his choice to ignore the IRS scandal. Imagine that, the IRS targets a group of Americans based upon their political beliefs and he ignores this massive affront to free speech. Holder is an ideologue who carefully went after those things that fit his, and Obama's, political beliefs. Nothing more than a poltical hack with way too much power. He had no interest as an impartial servant of ALL the citizens he swore to protect.

  177. So much incredulity here about AG Holder's failure to punish Wall Street, when in fact the DNC receives much of their donations from WS executives. The Obama administration refers to them as "fat cats", but it's understood by all concerned that this is just a necessary part of doing business and portraying the correct "optics".

  178. After six years we can say that Mr. Holder's principal job in the Obama administration was to guarantee that every political appointee could do whateve they wanted regardless of ethical and legal constraints and they could do it with impunity. That includes, of course, the president.

  179. This editorial mentions Holder's failure to hold banksters accountable in a single sentence toward the end. He actually explained it once, saying that he feared doing so would jostle the economy. In other words, our chief law enforcement officer told us there are some people in this country who are above the law. That is the true legacy of the worst attorney general since John Mitchell, who went to prison.

  180. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

    I find some comments here to be astonishingly blind to this man's incredible shortcomings.

    His abuse of the Espionage Act, lack of action about NSA and "security" agency malfeasance, and a lack of support for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, has done much to permanently destroy 4th amendment and privacy rights in this country.

    His equal lack of action against Wall St. is absolutely unconscionable. Wall St. has committed wholesale THEFT, yet, learning nothing, continues to careen our economy toward another cliff. Why? BECAUSE THEY CAN.

    Bad people sniff out weak moral leadership and exploit it. Holder exemplifies this. And it is a stain on president Obama's precious legacy.

  181. "CRIMINAL JUSTICE From early in the Obama administration's first term, Mr. Holder made broad criminal-justice reform a central goal of his tenure.
    "Too many Americans go to prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason,"he said in a landmark speech last year."

    'Yeah but'...he only began last year
    when the American public such as I myself, being impacted by the 'reforms' of his earlier years, began screaming out--literally.

    He had a hand in those years before last year in setting up the "reforms":
    Federal/Department of Justice/State,County,City Financial Incentives/choices that play a huge role in what has been occurring through-out the
    in-tandem criminal/healthcare injustice system.

    It appears he is jumping ship as the results of those pernicious choices are about to make the going get tougher for those at the almost-top in charge (at this moment for example:Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.)

    Lawsuits in the works will be able to track-back to policies mandated in the Federal Department of Justice/Department of Health contracts offered to State,City, County 'providers' who indeed practiced the policies for financial gain.

  182. Mr. Holder was an integral part of the Marc Rich pardon, the international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, who was the biggest tax cheat in US history. Why would anyone believe that he would go after the bankers?

  183. Mr. Holder was Mr. Obama's greatest appointment. Thank you, Mr. Holder for all you have done.

  184. This editorial lays out the most notable issues of Mr. Holder's tenure of AG to date. He has clearly continued a legacy started by a predecessor in his office with the initials RFK. Many in this nation are loathe to address racial issues and probably care nothing about the advances Mr. Holder has made in areas of representing the dis-infranchised, but, people of social and moral conscience will applaud those efforts as they give proper accolades to Mr. Holder.

    As far as support for the espionage act, NSA, drone strikes and proclaiming certain business' too big to jail, we have more questions than anwers. What we do know is that for the most part, Mr. Holder was not the progenetor of the above, he is, however an accompice.

    I do believe that Mr. Holder should be held fully responsible for not prosecuting bankers, however, in the other areas, there is a wide net of accomplices.

    Unfortunately, our politics are about compromise, equivocation and subterfuge, you cannot blame that on Mr. Holder.