The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved Eric Holder Jr. to be the nation’s first African American attorney general.
Holder, 58, has been criticized by congressional Republicans for the role he played in approving some of President Clinton’s controversial pardons.
Holder won the backing of all Democrats on the panel and all but two Republicans. Only Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma voted no.
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina voted to approve Holder.
His nomination could be taken up by the full Senate within a matter of days, the Washington Post reported. After some tough questioning by reluctant Republicans, Holder is expected to win easy approval.
Holder holds a law degree from Columbia University. He worked as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s public integrity section from 1976-1988. President Reagan appointed him to served as an associate judge on the D.C. Superior Court from 1988-1993 and he worked as U.S. attorney for the district during part of the Clinton administration. He served as U.S. deputy attorney general from 1997-2001.
Holder was in private practice when tapped by President Obama to head the Justice Department.