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Obama Makes Key DOJ Appointments [UPDATE]

President-elect Barack Obama announced the nominations of four well-known lawyers to key posts in the Justice Department, including deputy attorney general, the number two spot.

David OgdenThat appointment went to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr’s David Ogden, a former head of the department’s Civil Division under President Bill Clinton, who has been overseeing the DOJ transition work for Obama.

His deputy on the transition team, Thomas Perrelli, managing partner of Jenner & Block’s Washington, DC office, was tapped for the number three slot, associate attorney general. Like Ogden, Perrelli served in several positions in the Clinton Justice Department, leaving in 2001 as the head of the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch.

A surprise came in Obama’s selection of Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School, to serve as solicitor general, and Dawn Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University School of Law, to head the Office of Legal Counsel, the high-profile arm of the Justice Department that provides legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies.

Kagan and Johnsen too served in the Clinton administration.



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Johnsen was legal director of the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League, and has been a frequent critic of the Bush administration. Her most recent publication is entitled, “What’s a President to Do? Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration’s Abuses.”

Kagan would be the first Senate-confirmed woman to serve as the government’s chief advocate before the Supreme Court. She has also been mentioned as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court, and her role as solicitor general could burnish her appeal.

Obama’s announcement of four more DOJ nominees comes little more than a week before the January 15th Senate confirmation hearing for his attorney general pick, Eric Holder Jr., now a partner at Covington & Burling.

Via Legal Times.

UPDATE

An interesting note on Holy Hullabaloos:

Yale Law School must be celebrating Harvard’s loss of Kagan, though, since Kagan was a superstar dean who made all sorts of great improvements at Harvard, which now threatens Yale as the top law school in the US.

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