Democratic leaders in California’s state legislature announced Wednesday that they have retained former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to represent them in any legal battles they may face against President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration.
“Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California,” current Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Léon told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. “This means we are very, very serious.”
The legislature expects to challenge federal policy on matters including immigration, the environment and criminal justice, according to de Léon.
He said that Democrats decided to turn to Holder as Trump began to staff his Cabinet “with people who are a very clear and present danger to the economic prosperity of California.”
Holder served as President Barack Obama’s attorney general from 2009 to 2015 and currently is a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling.
In a statement obtained by the Times, Holder said he was “honored that the Legislature chose Covington to serve as its legal adviser as it considers how to respond to potential changes in federal law that could impact California’s residents and policy priorities.”
Holder is no stranger to challenging Trump. He directly addressed the then-candidate at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, when he argued that America is “already great.” In an interview days later, he wondered if Trump had the “intellectual heft” necessary to be president.
Holder also reportedly plans to work with national and state-level Democratic political groups on a campaign that will focus on redistricting reform, a major elections issue which tilted the electoral map significantly in Republicans’ favor after the tea party wave of elections in 2010. In October, Politico reported that Holder will work with Obama after the President leaves office to focus on elections that will determine who gets to draw the congressional district maps after the 2020 census.