Attorney general of California Kamala Harris, pictured left, and U.S. attorney in Seattle Jenny Durkan, pictured right, have been mentioned as two possible successors to Attorney General Eric Holder.
A longtime friend to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Saturday afternoon that the next person to step into the cabinet role would be a woman.
Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor who taught and is said to have mentored President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, made the comments on MSNBC during a segment about Holder, who announced on Thursday that he planned to step down from the Justice Department after six years at its helm.
"I'm not gonna put her name out," Ogletree said. "We'll just see what happens, because I don't want her to not be able to be confirmed by the Senate."
Obama has yet to announce a nominee to become Holder's successor. Holder, one of the president's closest friends in the administration, has said he will stay in his post as attorney general until his replacement has been confirmed by the Senate.
After Holder said this week that he would resign, speculation about his replacement ramped up about a number of public officials, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Don Verrilli, the solicitor general. It has also brought the names of two women to the fore: One was Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California and an increasingly prominent figure in the Democratic Party. The other was Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney in Seattle, who would be the first out LGBT person ever named to a cabinet role.
Ogletree, in an interview with MSNBC's Alex Witt, employed the female pronoun multiple times while discussing who could follow Holder in the role.
CO: He's also been very sensitive about the issue of civil rights, about civil justice, about the right of people to be treated equally with regard to their sexual orientation, [and] immigrants — how important it's been to him. I think we're gonna have a long way to go to figure out who she will be — and I hope it will be a woman — who will replace him, because I think he's had a big impact on American and on the world as attorney general.
Alex Witt: And Charles, I am out of time, but I'd love to ask you quickly: Whom do you choose to replace him? Top picks?
Charles Ogletree: I'm not gonna say, because I got into trouble last time I said that, but she would be a great attorney general.
AW: But you said a woman — "she"!
CO: I said she would be a great attorney general. And I'm not gonna put her name out. We'll just see what happens, because I don't want her to not be able to be confirmed by the Senate. And I think he's gonna be sitting there for a long time waiting for the Republican senators to confirm a Democratic candidate, but I think she will be a great attorney general, and she will be in the steps of Janet Reno and other people and I think that will be great for the White House and the Department of Justice.
This week, Harris tried to stamp out the speculation. In a statement on Thursday, she said, "I am honored to even be mentioned, but intend to continue my work for the people of California as Attorney General." A spokesperson for Durkan, whose selection the LGBT advocacy community has encouraged, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that it "would not be appropriate" to comment on the issue.