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No Attorney General Pick Until After Elections, White House Says

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr. better not pack up his Justice Department office just yet.  

President Barack Obama will not be nominating a successor to his long-serving attorney general until after the midterm elections, a White House official confirmed Tuesday. Holder has said he will remain at the Justice Department until a new attorney general is confirmed by the Senate.  

The move to delay an announcement, pushed by some Senate Democrats, avoids a scenario in which the person selected could become campaign fodder in the closing weeks of the cycle.  

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy said just after Holder announced his plan to step down that Obama should act quickly to fill the post.  

"I’m encouraging the President to go sooner because it’s a case where Attorney General Holder wants to leave, he’s earned the right to. He's done a superb job, but we must have somebody as chief law enforcement officer of the country," Leahy told Vermont Public Radio . "They make major decisions."  

But some Republicans, including Judiciary member John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, do not want to see the confirmation battle take place until the next Congress. Given the amount of time it can take to properly vet a nominee, pushing the announcement past the election would seem to make it more likely the individual getting the nod will have already won Senate confirmation previously.  

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