Eric Holder, A Champion of Civil Rights, if Not of Civil Liberties, Just Like His Hero Bobby Kennedy

WASHINGTON — Something was not quite right when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had his photograph taken recently at Department of Justice headquarters. The wrong painting was on the wall behind him.


Aides scurried to reorganize the portraits so subsequent photographs would capture Mr. Holder, in the best light, framed by his hero: Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.


Mr. Holder, who announced his resignation Thursday, frequently invoked the Kennedy legacy as he made civil rights the centerpiece of his six-year tenure. He succeeded in reducing lengthy prison sentences, opened civil rights investigations against police departments in record numbers and challenged identification requirements for voters.


“I have loved the Department of Justice ever since, as a young boy, I watched Robert Kennedy prove during the civil rights movement how the department can — and must always — be a force for that which is right,” Mr. Holder said at a White House farewell on Thursday. [NYT]


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