Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced plans to resign his position once a successor is confirmed. Holder has helmed the Justice Department since February 2009; his service already marks the fourth-longest Attorney General term in U.S. history. Speculation – and political sniping – has already begun over the upcoming Senate confirmation process for Holder's still-unnamed successor. The U.S. Senate website contains details about the Senate power to confirm or reject presidential nominations.
Holder's announcement came one day after the 225th anniversary of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which created the position of Attorney General (in addition to its more famous impact on the federal court structure). The Judiciary Act called for the appointment of a "person […] learned in the law, to act as Attorney General for the United States." Oversight of the Justice Department was added to the Attorney General's duties in 1870, with Congress's passage of an Act to Establish the Department of Justice.
To learn more about the history of the U.S. Attorney General's office, check out the Department of Justice's 1990 publication commemorating the position's bicentennial, available in the library and online in HathiTrust. The Justice Department website also maintains an online photo gallery with biographies of past Attorneys General. Works about the role of the office in our federal government, including access to published confirmation hearings, can be found with a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for "United States -- Department of Justice --Office of the Attorney General". For assistance with locating information about the Attorney General, be sure to Ask a Librarian.