Obama Names 4 DOJ Division Chiefs

President Barack Obama has named four chiefs of the Justice Department.

  • David Kris is assistant AG for national security.
  • Tony West is assistant AG for the Justice Department’s civil division.
  • Lanny Breuer is assistant AG for Justice’s criminal division.
  • Christine Varney is assistant AG for the antitrust division.

It's the criminal division, responsible for prosecuting crimes in our federal courts, that I'm interested in.

Breuer is a partner at the Washington law firm Covington and Burling, where attorney general-nominee Eric Holder also served as partner. He was special counsel to President Clinton and defended Clinton during his impeachment. New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens also hired Breuer last year to represent him during Congress’ investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball.

White Collar Crime Blog has this to say about Breuer: [More...]

It is good to see someone with enormous experience willing to serve the country in this important position. His expertise in the corporate and political world make him a good match in the fight against white collar crime.

But where will he be on the War Against Drugs? It hardly sounds like that has been high on his radar list. Since he comes from the same firm as Holder, and Holder is no friend in that area, I'm not sure what to think about the pick. As a defense lawyer, he's represented big shots. And early in his career, he was a state prosector.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Exciting . . . (none / 0) (#1)
    by SOS on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:37:46 AM EST
    think I'll go back to sleep.


    Why not Einar Elhauge? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jacob Freeze on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 10:58:46 AM EST
    My first thought, when I read about the appointment of Christine Varney as assistant AG for the antitrust division, was "why not Elhauge?"

    This isn't quite as idiosyncratic as an unwary reader might imagine, because a lot of people almost automatically think "why not Elhauge" when almost any legal appointment is announced.

    Einer Elhauge is a professor at Harvard Law, and for anyone unfamiliar with the work of probably the closest approximation we have to a universal legal scholar, there's a good introduction at http://media.www.hlrecord.org/media/storage/paper609/news/2003/09/25/News/All-About.Elhague-476806.s html

    It's also worth reading at least a small sample of Elhauge's amazingly deep and  original way of approaching questions about anti-trust litigation...

    In Antitrust, much turns on how we think firms are likely to behave. After a merger, will firms engage in Bertrand competition by pricing down to cost, Cournot competition by setting output in a way that depends on the output of others, or oligopolistic coordination on price or output? The traditional approach considers various factors that theoretically bear on this issue in particular cases, but the weighing of them generally turns on unavoidable judgment calls. It would be better to rely on the growing statistical analysis of how firms actually behave (often, it turns out, in ways that lie in between these models). It would be even better to have rigorous statistical data about what the price effects were of a particular method for deciding which mergers to approve or condemn. Right now we choose our merger law methodologies based on theory and never gather and analyze the data to see whether the theory worked.

    I can only hope that Obama passed over Elhauge for the anti-trust division because he's saving him for the Supreme Court!

    What about the other Lani (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpa1 on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 11:15:00 AM EST
    Didn't Obama or his minions criticise Bill Clinton for not standing by by Lani Guinier?  I figured she'd get something.

    And AAG for Civil Rights? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 01:32:48 PM EST
    Has that nominee been announced?

    Query (none / 0) (#5)
    by kaleidescope on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:48:43 PM EST
    Any idea who will be heading up the Civil Rights and Environment divisions?