Gorelick Quits Justice

The Justice Dept. lost its second-ranking official and day- to-day manager when Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick submitted her resignation.

Gorelick, "widely considered the heir apparent" to Attorney General Janet Reno, cited family reasons. Pres. Clinton "did not immediately name a replacement," but U.S. Atty for D.C. Eric Holder, who has "rebuffed" suggestions that he run for mayor of D.C., is considered a "favorite" for the job. Such an appointment would make Holder the DoJ's highest ranking African- American ever.

DoJ officials "said Ms. Gorelick simply wanted to take some time off." Gorelick is expected to return the DC firm where she worked before going to Justice, but "many people" think her retirement from public life will be "temporary." Gorelick "made the short list" for both Defense Sec. and CIA director. Admin. officials said Gorelick "may again become a candidate" for CIA if the Senate won't confirm Anthony Lake. Gorelick would also be a candidate for AG should Janet Reno not serve a full four years, as would Holder.

Gorelick's departure adds to the spots Clinton must fill at Justice which include Assoc. AG (the #3 post); solicitor general and civil rights chief (Jackson, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/15).

Gorelick associates said she was "not interested" in Defense or CIA when considered by the admin. earlier this year, but she did "express interest" in succeeding Reno, if an opening were to occur. Gorelick herself "supported" Reno. Reno, in a statement: "Jamie brought tremendous managerial skill, brilliant legal ability, and a great sensitivity to an extremely difficult job."

In addition to Holder, U.S. Atty for San Diego Alan Bersin is a potential successor for Gorelick (Johnston, N.Y. TIMES, 1/15). Gorelick "played down" the impact being "passed over" for any Cabinet post played in her decision, noting that she had not "lobbied" for any other post (Thomas, W. POST, 1/15).

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