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Eric Holder bids farewell to Justice Department

After more than six years as Attorney General, Eric Holder has bid his Justice Department colleagues farewell. Holder was a frequent target of Republicans who viewed his department as too political to act objectively.

Long-serving US Attorney General Eric Holder left the Justice Department Friday, a day after the

US Senate confirmed his successor,

Loretta Lynch.

Holder, one of the longest-serving attorneys general in US history, praised his colleagues and credited them with ushering in a "golden age" at the Justice Department.

"Fifty years from now, and maybe even sooner than that, people are going to look back at the work that you all did and say this was another the golden age," Holder said at a ceremony held in his honor in Washington, DC.

The event also included video tributes from President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and several members of Congress.

The first black Attorney General, Holder's Justice Department was marked by its efforts to protect civil rights.

The department challenged state laws it viewed as unfairly restricting access to the voting booth and refused to defend a federal law that banned the recognition of gay marriage.

His Justice Department also

published a scathing report

alleging widespread racism in the Ferguson, Missouri police department following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer.

But Holder, a staunch Obama ally, was often criticized by Republicans as being too close with the White House to act independently.

In 2012, he was

held in contempt by the Republican-controlled house

over allegedly refusing to disclose documents relating to a botched gun-tracking operation along the US-Mexico border.

Human rights groups have also criticized the Holder Justice Department over its failure to bring charges over harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

bw/bk (AP, Reuters)

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