03.12.09

Senate Confirms Perrelli To Be Associate Attorney General At Justice

WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 12, 2009) – The Senate Thursday overwhelmingly confirmed Thomas Perrelli to the number three position at the Department of Justice by a vote of 72-20.

Perrelli’s nomination to be the Associate Attorney General was first announced on January 5, and he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 10.  His nomination was reported by the Committee by a vote of 17-1 on March 5.

Earlier today, the Senate confirmed the nomination of David Ogden to be the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice.  The nomination of Elena Kagan to be the Solicitor General of the United States remains pending on the Senate’s executive calendar.

The full text of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s statement on the Senate’s consideration of the nomination follows.

 

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

On the Nomination of Thomas J. Perrelli to be Associate Attorney General

March 12, 2009

As Prepared

Today the Senate considers President Obama’s nomination of Thomas J. Perrelli to be the Associate Attorney General, the number three position at the Justice Department.  He is a superbly qualified veteran of the Department of Justice who has chosen to leave a lucrative private practice to return to public service. This nomination was reported out of the Judiciary Committee one week ago by a strong, bipartisan vote of 17-1.  I thank Senator Specter, Senator Hatch, Senator Kyl, Senator Sessions, Senator Graham and Senator Cornyn for their support of this important nomination. 

Given Tom Perrelli’s background and qualifications, this strong support is no surprise.  He is the managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block.  Before that he held important posts at the Justice Department, earning a reputation for independence and integrity, as well as the respect of career lawyers at the Department.  Mr. Perrelli joined the Justice Department in 1997 as Counsel to the Attorney General.  In that role, Mr. Perrelli assisted the Attorney General in overseeing the civil litigation components of the Department of Justice, and also worked on a wide variety of special projects, including professional responsibility issues for Department attorney and law enforcement in Indian Country.

From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Perrelli served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division, supervising the Federal Programs Branch.  That branch defends Federal agencies in important constitutional, regulatory, national security, personnel and other litigation.  In addition, he played a leading role on significant policy issues ranging from medical records privacy, the use of adjusted figures in the census to Indian gaming, and social security litigation.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Brown University and graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as the Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Mr. Perrelli has demonstrated throughout his years in government that he understands that the role of the Department of Justice is to be the people's lawyer, with first loyalty to the Constitution and the laws of the United States.  He clerked for Judge Royce Lamberth, a no nonsense judge.  In private practice, first as an associate at Jenner & Block from 1992 to 1997 and then, again, from 2001 to the present where he became a partner and then the Managing Partner of its well-respected Washington office, he is recognized as an outstanding litigator and manager.  He will need all those skills to call on all his experience in the challenging work ahead. 

Numerous major law enforcement organizations have endorsed Mr. Perrelli’s nomination, including the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations.  Paul Clement, who worked for Senator Ashcroft and then Attorney General Ashcroft and was appointed by President Bush to be Solicitor General, wrote that career professionals at the Department who had worked with Mr. Perrelli “held him in uniformly high regard” and that Mr. Perrelli’s “prior service in the Department should prepare [him] to be a particularly effective Associate Attorney General.”  He also described Mr. Perrelli as “an incredibly skilled lawyer” whose “skills would serve both Tom and the Department very well if he is confirmed as the Associate Attorney General.”

I urge the Senate to confirm Tom Perrelli to the critical post for which President Obama has nominated him.  I look forward to congratulating him, his wife Kristine and their two sons, James and Alexander on his confirmation.

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