Attorney General Eric Holder seeks better educational opportunities for imprisoned juveniles. (Freddie Allen/NNPA/File Photo)
President Barack Obama, right, smiles as outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, left, bows to singer Aretha Franklin as she arrives in a surprise appearance to sing at an event celebrating Holder at the Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Cassie Spodak, CNN

 
WASHINGTON (CNN)—The White House celebrated the upcoming departure of Eric Holder on Friday night in a ceremony that brought tears to President Barack Obama’s eyes and featured Aretha Franklin literally singing the attorney general’s praises.

“I think about all the young people out there who have seen you work and have been able to get just an innate sense, without knowing you personally, that you’re a good man,” Obama said at the event, which marked the unveiling of Holder’s official portrait, and was held at the Department of Justice. ” And having good men in positions of power and authority, who are willing to fight for what’s right, that’s a rare thing. That’s a powerful thing.”

Holder, who is expected to be replaced by nominee Loretta Lynch, has faced sharp criticism from conservatives and was a polarizing figure for Republicans for his role in high profile and contentious political battles since the start of Obama’s presidency. But as the ceremony showed, he also has staunch defenders.

 
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