Bracing for Trump, California Taps Ex-U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder as ‘Lead Litigator’

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Bracing for an adversarial relationship with President-elect Donald Trump, the California Legislature has selected former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. to serve as outside counsel to advise the state’s legal strategy against the incoming administration.

Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the media following a vote in the House of Representatives at the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Louisiana office on June 28, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the media following a vote in the House of Representatives at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Louisiana office on June 28, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The unusual arrangement was announced as the Legislature returned to session on Wednesday, underscoring the extent to which the action in Sacramento in the coming months will be shaped by Trump’s presidency.

The agreement will give Holder, leading a team of attorneys from the firm Covington & Burling, a broad portfolio covering potential conflicts between California and the federal government. Former Los Angeles Rep. Howard Berman, a Democrat who is now a senior advisor to the firm, will also be part of the effort.

“[Holder] 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,” Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview.

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