Chris Penza

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. will virtually meet with our school community on Wednesday, January 10th. He’ll be there to answer questions from AP Gov Students, who are preparing to ask about his position.

Who is Eric Holder?

Eric Holder was the U.S. Attorney General from 2009 to 2015 during the Obama administration. He was born in New York City and eventually became interested in Law. He studied at Columbia College and Columbia Law School, which led him to work for the U.S. Department of Justice for twelve years. Next, he served as a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Holder was promoted by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and in 1997 became the first African American U.S. Deputy Attorney General.

While serving in this position, Holder focused on issues concerning voting rights, notably during the famous Shelby V. Holder case of 2013. In this Supreme Court case, Eric Holder defended the constitutionality of Section 4b of the Voting Rights Act. This section determined which states, counties or local areas were subject to the

preclearance requirement (a requirement that dictated that changes made to voting laws and districts must be reviewed by the government in areas that have a history of discrimination). Preclearance helped to ensure equal voting rights and limit discrimination. By fighting for preclearance he made a stand against injustice by working to limit the power of gerrymandering.

During his time as the attorney general, Eric Holder has made it clear that he finds it extremely valuable for every American to vote. He claims that if many Americans vote, it will strengthen our democracy and overturn outdated laws that attempt to silence the minority. Holder went on to lose the Shelby V. Holder case but never lost sight of his mission. In 2013, Holder and former President Barack Obama founded Organizing for Action (OFA), an organization that promotes policy issues like gun violence prevention, climate change, LGBTQ+ issues, and immigration. Later in 2017, with Obama’s direction, Holder founded the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) to further combat gerrymandering and ensure fair representation throughout the entire voting process. The NDRC has been challenging gerrymandering policy as well as questioning the way state legislative and congressional districts are drawn to make the process more fair.

Mr. Holder will virtually meet with our school on Wednesday, January 10th. Contact Ms. Moore or your C block (PACE) teacher for more information.