appointments

Arne Duncan Stepping Down, John B. King Jr. to Be Named Replacement (Updated) (Video)

Arne Duncan is leaving the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:28 p.m. | A White House official confirmed that Education Secretary Arne Duncan intends to step down in December, with President Barack Obama planning to replace him with his deputy, John B. King Jr.  

That will leave Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as the only original member of the president's Cabinet still serving. Duncan's decision comes as the House and Senate are still working out their differences on a long-overdue rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, with the prospects still uncertain amid a full legislative plate. With a little over a year left in Obama's term, the president doesn't intent to formally nominate King, who would likely face a bruising process in the Senate with a backdrop of presidential politics. Instead, he's expected to serve as acting secretary indefinitely.  

Ex-Hill Intern Makes Facebook Fortune, Joins White House

A 24-year-old former Capitol Hill intern who has already struck it rich with an app bought by Facebook has joined the White House as the first ever "Director of Product."  

Josh Miller says in a blog post he interned with a senator in 2009, before dropping out of Princeton to co-found Branch, a conversation app bought by Facebook for a reported $15 million in 2012 . (Miller's Google+ page lists the senator he worked for as Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.)  

ATF Chief Announces Resignation (Updated)

B. Todd Jones (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:27 p.m. | B. Todd Jones is resigning as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives weeks after the agency abandoned a plan to ban some bullets.  

Jones' departure, effective on March 31, could mean another long slog for the agency without a confirmed director, especially given the controversy over the abandoned AR-15 bullet ban and the politically explosive gun control debate heading into an election year.  

Chuck Hagel Out at DOD; Jack Reed, Michele Flournoy, Ashton Carter on Short List (Updated) (Video)

Hagel is on his way out. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:23 p.m. | President Barack Obama is getting a new Defense secretary.  

Obama announced Monday in the State Dining Room that Chuck Hagel will be leaving his post once a successor is confirmed by the Senate. Hagel tendered his resignation earlier Monday after a series of crises erupted on his watch, including the rise of Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.  

Obama Has Another Key DOJ Post to Fill
New Choice to Head DOJ Civil Rights Division Has Early Conservative Support

Gupta, left, and Vernon Jordan chat during a news conference announcing the winners in Reebok's 2004 Human Rights Awards in 2004. ( Andrew Kent/Getty Images File Photo)

Updated 4:38 p.m. | After the last administration pick to head the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division collapsed on the Senate floor, the Obama team has lined up some conservative backing for its new choice, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Vanita Gupta.  

As the news of her appointment broke in The Washington Post,  DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted out favorable quotes about Gupta from Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and David Keene, the former president of the National Rifle Association.  

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.  

Get Ready: Attorney General Confirmations Are Partisan Skirmishes

Holder had a tough time getting confirmed and the next nominee could face an even tougher process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama hasn't named a replacement for outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., but that future nominee can count on a contentious Senate confirmation process, whether it happens in the November lame-duck session or next year.  

Attorney general nominations and confirmations — like everything in Washington — have become highly partisan clashes in recent years. Janet Reno, in 1993, was the last attorney general to be confirmed without any "no" votes. (Of course, her pathway to the job was anything but smooth. She was Bill Clinton's third choice, after it was revealed that his top pick, corporate lawyer Zoe Baird, and his second, federal judge Kimba Wood, both had employed illegal immigrants as nannies.)  

Eric Holder Lame-Duck Fight? White House Points to McConnell Precedent

Earnest offered to the 2006 lame-duck confirmation of Robert Gates, supported then by McConnell, as precedent for confirming Holder's successor.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is citing Sen. Mitch McConnell's support for the lame-duck confirmation of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2006 as precedent for a quick confirmation of a replacement for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.  

Earnest made the reference Friday at the his daily briefing, although he did not lay out a timetable for the president to make his decision.  

Eric Holder to Resign (Updated)

Holder's resignation announcement ensures Senate Democrats a chance to confirm a successor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:30 p.m. | Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will announce his resignation Thursday at the White House, according to a Justice Department official, in a move that shocked and saddened some of his supporters but had Republicans cheering. He will serve until his successor is confirmed.  

By announcing his resignation now, Holder gives President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats the opportunity to confirm a successor in the lame-duck session even if Republicans take over the Senate in the midterm elections. After deploying the "nuclear option" last year, a minority cannot filibuster the confirmation of an administration official, effectively allowing Democrats to ignore Republicans on nominees. But that would all change if Republicans controlled the chamber.