Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appointed as Outside Counsel by California State Legislature

Jan. 5, 2017: Bracing for what state politicians feel could be an adversarial relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, the California State Legislature has appointed former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as an Outside Counsel to advise the state government regarding its legal strategy against the incoming administration, according to The Los Angeles Times. According to the Times: The unusual arrangement will give Holder, leading a team of lawyers from the law firm Covington and Burling, a broad portfolio covering potential conflicts between California and the federal government. “He will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights--to name just a few,” California State Senate leader Kevin de Leon, Los Angeles Democrat, said in an interview.

Such a task typically falls to the state’s Attorney General. On Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown formally appointed Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra to replace former Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is now a U.S. Senator. Becerra, whose nomination hearings in the Legislature are scheduled to start next week, the week of Jan. 8-14, 2017, is expected to be easily confirmed. But De Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon started contemplating hiring an Outside Counsel for the Legislature almost immediately after Trump’s election, in hopes of protecting existing state policies that are at odds with Trump’s stated positions.

Holder, who was a partner at Covington from 2001 until 2009 before he rejoined the firm in 2015, is scheduled to direct the state’s efforts from the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. The firm, which has a long-established presence in the nation’s capital, has in recent years expanded its presence in California. Covington’s Los Angeles office, which will play a major role in working with the Legislature, was launched in part by former federal prosecutor Dan Shallman, whose brother, John Shallman, is a prominent Democratic strategist whose clients include De Leon.

Attribution: The Los Angeles Times

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