A week after Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. announced plans to step down, three administration insiders lead the president's short list to replace him, according to sources inside and outside the White House.
Solicitor Gen. Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who successfully argued the administration's case for the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, is mentioned more frequently than the other top candidates: Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, a progressive considered by the White House to be a Cabinet standout, and former White House Counsel Kathryn H. Ruemmler.
Perez was a lightening rod for Republican criticism when he headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and barely squeezed through his confirmation last year. His nomination as America's top law enforcement official would provoke a major battle in the Senate.
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