The ABA Journal has sounded the starting gun on speculation about the lawyers ready to take prominent roles in the new administration. Depending on the presidential victor, names you know will become names that everybody knows.
Let’s jump into the ABA speculation on an Obama Administration. For U.S.A.G:
Eric Holder: Partner, Covington & Burling.
Holder and Obama have been friends since they hit it off at a dinner party in 2004. He is the consummate Washington insider–a familiar fixture in the Clinton administration, but well-known to Republican administrations as well. Best known as a prosecutor, Holder was fresh out of law school when he was assigned to the newly formed public integrity section of the Justice Department.
ATL’s dark horse pick: Andrew Cuomo. It’s the only way to save the Democratic party in New York, otherwise 2010 will be a bloodbath.
White House Counsel:
Robert Bauer: Partner, Perkins Coie.
He helped represent Minority Leader Tom Daschle during the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and was general counsel to Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign. He’s considered one of the nation’s top experts on the intricacies of campaign finance and writes about it regularly on More Soft Money Hard Law, a law blog devoted to campaign finance.
ATL says: No brainer. Remember, most of Obama’s Senate staff came from Daschle’s staff after Daschle lost his seat.
And the next SCOTUS justice:
Elena Kagan: Dean, Harvard Law School.
In 1999, President Clinton tapped Kagan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, only to have the nomination blocked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then controlled by Republicans. But many think an Obama administration wouldn’t hesitate to tap her for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sonia Sotomayor: Judge, 2nd Circuit.
She was first appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, then to the appeals court by President Clinton. In 1995, she won the gratitude of baseball fans by issuing an injunction against team owners, setting the stage for the end of the eight-month strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
ATL’s pick: Dean Kagan. Sotomayor would be an easier confirmation to be sure. But we once suffered a Socratic demolition at the hands of then Professor Kagan in a 1L CivPro class, earning her enduring respect. More substantively Sotomayor has an excellent chance to pull a Justice Souter once she’s on the Court. She’s maybe the appropriate choice if Kennedy moves on, but if Obama is replacing Stevens he’d better tap Kagan.
McCain’s administration after the jump.