Eric Holder (1951–) was appointed U.S. attorney general in 2009, becoming the first African American to hold that post. He became the highest-ranking black American law enforcement officer in history in 1997, when he was confirmed as deputy attorney general. He held the number-two post at the Justice Department. He resigned in 2001 and became a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. Holder was born in New York City and educated at Columbia University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and a law degree in 1976. Holder was previously a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Public Integrity Section, and associate justice of the Superior Court in Washington.