Posts Tagged ‘Peter Keisler’
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Keep America Safe’s video on the Justice Department lawyers who previously worked on behalf of detained terrorism suspects has prompted quite a discussion, but John C. Yoo didn’t think the debate was necessary, reported the New York Times.

“What’s the big whoop?” said Yoo, the former DOJ Office of Legal Counsel official whose memorandums on torture and presidential power were used to justify controversial interrogation policies of the George W. Bush administration.

“The Constitution makes the president the chief law enforcement officer. We had an election. President Obama has softer policies on terror than his predecessor.

“He can and should put people into office who share his views,” Yoo told The Times. Once the American people know who the policy makers are, Yoo said, “they can decide whether they agree with him or not.”

The video aroused not only liberal outrage directed at the producers of the short film, but also division among conservative legal scholars, according to The Times. The video was produced by Keep America Safe, a conservative interest group in Washington, D.C., run by Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.

Conservative members of the Federalist Society, the 25-year-old policy group devoted to conservative and libertarian legal ideals, have criticized the video, and said it violated the American legal principle that even unpopular defendants deserve a lawyer.

A letter issued by the Brookings Institution criticizing the “shameful series of attacks” on government lawyers was signed by several former Republican administration officials and conservative legal figures, including Kenneth W. Starr, the former special prosecutor, Charles D. Stimson, who resigned from the second Bush administration after suggesting that businesses might think twice before hiring law firms that had represented detainees, Peter D. Keisler, a former acting attorney general, and Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general.

Richard A. Epstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago who once taught Liz Cheney, said he found it “appalling” to see people equating work on detainee cases with a dearth of patriotism.

“You don’t want to give the impression that because you oppose the government on this thing, that means you’re just one of those lefties — which I am not,” he told The Times.

David M. McIntosh, a former member of Congress and a founder of the Federalist Society, agreed that a lawyer should not be judged by his clients, but he said it was legitimate to examine the agenda of the lawyers.

“Was the person acting merely as an attorney doing their best to represent a client’s case, or did they seek out the opportunity to represent them or write an amicus brief because they have a political or personal agenda that made them more interested in participating in those cases?” he said.

If the commitment to the cases is ideological, McIntosh said, it is reasonable to ask, “Is that the best attorney for the Justice Department?”

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

A partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr forwarded us this internal e-mail, from the firm’s co-managing partners William Lee and William Perlstein:

Memorandum to all Personnel:

We are delighted to welcome Carl Nichols to the Firm as a Partner in the Litigation /Controversy and Regulatory and Government Affairs Departments, based in our Washington, DC office. Carl was most recently the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and previously served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division at DOJ, and as a litigation partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.

Carl has extensive experience as a litigator.  During his tenure at DOJ, Carl served as the government’s lead counsel in a number of landmark suits, including the House Judiciary Committee’s lawsuit seeking to enforce subpoenas issued to senior White House officials, several suits filed by the federal government to enjoin state investigations into alleged activities of the National Security Agency, and various lawsuits filed against telecommunications companies alleging their participation in national security programs.  As Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, Carl was responsible for overseeing the Department’s five civil litigating components, and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General, he personally handled and supervised the government’s most sensitive civil cases.

Carl’s practice at WilmerHale will focus on litigation and counseling on matters with a governmental or regulatory focus.

Bill and Bill

Nichols (Dartmouth, University of Chicago Law) joined the Justice Department’s Civil Division in 2005, under then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler, now a partner at Sidley Austin. Nichols left DOJ as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General in January 2009. He began work at the firm on Monday.

Deputy Attorney General David Ogden is planning to return to Wilmer after he leaves the department in February.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wrote a post on the paper’s PostPartisan blog about how “logic pointed to choosing [Solicitor General] Elena Kagan” for the Supreme Court and that Kagan was “the obvious choice.”  His argument starts off based on the premise that Obama’s next pick is likely to be a non-latina woman, meaning that Kagan is best-fit for the job because she has already been confirmed with 61 votes for the position of Solicitor General.  Dionne concluded his post:

E.J. Dionne

Courtesy: Washington Post

We will soon learn how good my logic is.

Well, why wait until the nomination?  While we don’t dispute the fact that Kagan would be a great nominee, she won’t help President Obama in “avoiding a major battle,” as Dionne claims.  Almost two weeks ago, we wrote about why she isn’t guaranteed a smooth confirmation:

The former Harvard Law School dean received only six Republican votes for her March 19 confirmation as Solicitor General, from Sens. Judd Gregg (NH), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine),Tom Coburn (Okla.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah). Thirty one Republicans voted against her – including Sen. Arlen Specter, who is now a Democrat. Conservative groups have alreadycirculated a memo against Kagan and other potential Obama nominees. If she goes before the Senate as a nominee for the Supreme Court, she could lose at least one GOP vote – Kyl’s.

The Arizona Republican said on the Senate floor he supported her nomination because of the written recommendations from promiment conservatives including former Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler, attorney Miguel Estrada and former Solicitors General Ted OlsonPaul Clement and Greg Garre. Kyl emphasized that his vote for Kagan as Solicitor General was for that position only, however, and that he wouldn’t automatically support her for the Supreme Court.

“My decision whether to support or oppose her would be strongly influenced by the decisions made by her as Solicitor General,” Kyl said on the floor. He added, “If she approaches her job as Solicitor General ideologically or argues inappropriate positions, I will not hesitate to oppose her nomination.”

Coburn, a staunch conservative, did not speak about Kagan’s nomination on the floor. He gave few hints behind his decision to support her nomination when he told the Ada Evening News: “I voted for her because she was qualified.”

Kagan could also have difficulty picking up now-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who opposed her nomination for Solicitor General. When he was a Republican, he said he was unable to learn enough about Kagan during the discussions he had with her.

“I’ve gone to some length to try to find out more about Dean Kagan,” Specter said on the floor. “But in the absence of being able to do so and really have a judgment on her qualifications, I’m constrained to vote no.”

Specter also complained that Kagan wasn’t familiar with a lawsuit by victims of the 9/11 attacks against Saudi Arabian officials and business people who were alleged to have helped finance terrorism. Said Specter on the Senate floor: “There has been a lot of information in the public domain that Saudi charities were involved. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. People were murdered. There are claims pending in court. The question is whether the Supreme Court is going to take the case. Well, I wish to know what the nominee for the position of Solicitor General thinks about it.”

Conservatives were upset by Kagan’s opposition to the Solomon Amendment, which required universities receiving federal funds to allow military recruiters on campus. Kagan opposed the amendment because of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay service members. Kagan’s position on the amendment was the chief reason Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voted against her. “I believe her record shows a lack of judgment and experience,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), said on the Senate floor during debate on her nomination to be Solicitor General.

Here’s the vote tally on Kagan’s March 19 confirmation:

YEAs —61
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs —31
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting – 7
Boxer (D-CA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Ensign (R-NV)
Graham (R-SC)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Murray (D-WA)
Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s name is in the mix for the Supreme Court nomination to replace retiring Justice David Souter. She enjoys great respect from conservatives in the legal establishment. But politically, her nomination wouldn’t be without controversy.

The former Harvard Law School dean received only six Republican votes for her March 19 confirmation as Solicitor General, from Sens. Judd Gregg (NH), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah). Thirty one Republicans voted against her – including Sen. Arlen Specter, who is now a Democrat. Conservative groups have already circulated a memo against Kagan and other potential Obama nominees. If she goes before the Senate as a nominee for the Supreme Court, she could lose at least one GOP vote – Kyl’s.

The Arizona Republican said on the Senate floor he supported her nomination because of the written recommendations from promiment conservatives including former Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler, attorney Miguel Estrada and former Solicitors General Ted Olson, Paul Clement and Greg Garre. Kyl emphasized that his vote for Kagan as Solicitor General was for that position only, however, and that he wouldn’t automatically support her for the Supreme Court.

“My decision whether to support or oppose her would be strongly influenced by the decisions made by her as Solicitor General,” Kyl said on the floor. He added, “If she approaches her job as Solicitor General ideologically or argues inappropriate positions, I will not hesitate to oppose her nomination.”

Coburn, a staunch conservative, did not speak about Kagan’s nomination on the floor. He gave few hints behind his decision to support her nomination when he told the Ada Evening News: “I voted for her because she was qualified.”

Kagan could also have difficulty picking up now-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who opposed her nomination for Solicitor General. When he was a Republican, he said he was unable to learn enough about Kagan during the discussions he had with her.

“I’ve gone to some length to try to find out more about Dean Kagan,” Specter said on the floor. “But in the absence of being able to do so and really have a judgment on her qualifications, I’m constrained to vote no.”

Specter also complained that Kagan wasn’t familiar with a lawsuit by victims of the 9/11 attacks against Saudi Arabian officials and business people who were alleged to have helped finance terrorism. Said Specter on the Senate floor: “There has been a lot of information in the public domain that Saudi charities were involved. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. People were murdered. There are claims pending in court. The question is whether the Supreme Court is going to take the case. Well, I wish to know what the nominee for the position of Solicitor General thinks about it.”

Conservatives were upset by Kagan’s opposition to the Solomon Amendment, which required universities receiving federal funds to allow military recruiters on campus. Kagan opposed the amendment because of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay service members. Kagan’s position on the amendment was the chief reason Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voted against her. “I believe her record shows a lack of judgment and experience,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), said on the Senate floor during debate on her nomination to be Solicitor General.

Here’s the vote tally on Kagan’s March 19 confirmation:

YEAs —61
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs —31
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting – 7
Boxer (D-CA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Ensign (R-NV)
Graham (R-SC)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Murray (D-WA)