John Demers

Can you blame Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for not being more in the loop on the U.S. Attorney firings? He’s been holding down not one but TWO demanding jobs. Check out the DOJ homepage (unchanged as of this morning, despite this Friday afternoon post by Wonkette):
Alberto Gonzales FARC news release Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
If Alberto Gonzales can survive the revelation that “he” is actually a female, drug-trafficking terrorist — who may possibly be related to Wilmer Valderrama — then clearly he’s untouchable.
Meanwhile, in other Justice Department news (expect announcements later today or tomorrow):

The stylish pumps of the fabulous Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, whose last day as head of the Office of Legal Policy is today, will be filled on an acting basis by another former Kennedy clerk, Brett Gerry (OT 2000).

Congratulations to Brett Gerry on his new post. Alberto Gonzales needs all the help he can get these days.
Why Is This Man Smiling? [Wonkette]
High Ranking Member of Colombian FARC Narco-Terrorist Organization Sentenced on U.S. Drug Charges [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Why Did the Prom Queen Leave the Party?
Congratulations to Ken Wainstein (profiling Wainstein’s front office staff at NSD)

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Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, Mrs. Maura O’Scannlain, and two decades’ worth of law clerks and judicial assistants. (We apologize for the less-than-stellar quality of this pic. If you live in the D.C. area and would like to give us a tutorial in digital photography, email us.)


Our photo essay about the historic Pioneer Courthouse, in Portland, Oregon, is complete . But our coverage of “DFOpalooza” — the delightful weekend of events celebrating Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain’s 20th judicial anniversary — isn’t quite done.
After the jump, more fun photographs. We traveled across the country to be there, so we intend to milk it for all it’s worth. And, of course, it’s good publicity for our awesome former boss.
If you’re a federal judge who’s wondering, “Why isn’t my law clerk reunion being covered this lavishly?”, there’s a solution: Invite us to your next one! (Hey Frank — we hear your house in Alaska is pretty sweet.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Dispatch from DFOpalooza”

3 pioneer courthouse 8.JPG

Yes, ladies, he really is this handsome. Sorry, he’s taken.
From left to right: Professor William Birdthistle; Mark Schneider, an AUSA in Chicago; Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain; Brian Murray (OT 2002/Scalia); Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Cohn (OT 2000/Thomas); Carol Murray (we think); Cindy Zmijewski Demers (in profile); Ryan W. Bounds, of the Office of Legal Policy (and the Office of Sartorial Counsel).
For those of you who don’t like eye candy (of the admittedly blurry kind), you’ll be happy to know that this is the last in our series of photo essay posts about the historic Pioneer Courthouse, in Portland, Oregon. The prior installments can be accessed here (scroll down).
The latest batch of pictures, showing former O’Scannlain law clerks on a judge-led tour of the renovated Pioneer Courthouse, appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Pioneer Courthouse: A Photo Essay (Part 4)”


jessie liu jessie k liu kathryn haun kathryn r haun.JPGLast week we wrote about the A-team of legal talent that Assistant Attorney General Kenneth L. Wainstein is assembling over at the Justice Department’s new National Security Division. Wainstein’s top hires include several members of the Elect, including high-flying legal eagles Brett Gerry (Silberman/Kennedy) and John Demers (O’Scannlain/Scalia).
A press release issued this morning announces Kenneth Wainstein’s other front office hires. And they include two brilliant and beautiful women (whom we have had the pleasure of meeting): Kathryn Haun (left), counsel to the AAG, and Jessie Liu (right), deputy chief of staff.
Those who followed UTR’s Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary contest — which, by the way, we will be reinstituting here at ATL — may recall Haun. She’s the blonde hottie who was photographed wrapping her arms around her former boss, Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski (click here, scroll down). Back then we compared Haun to Naomi Watts; but upon further reflection, we’re thinking Cybill Shepherd.
Don’t let Haun’s dazzling beauty — a beauty that has ensnared multiple male members of the Elect — distract you from her accomplishments. Haun is one of the Elect herself, having clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. She was also an associate at Sidley & Austin, and most recently was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia (a post she is being detailed from to come to the NSD).
Liu, who will be Ken Wainstein’s deputy chief of staff, is similarly high-powered. Her gleaming resume includes Harvard College, Yale Law School, a clerkship with Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King (5th Cir.), and a stint at Jenner & Block. Most recently, Liu was an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, where she acquired a wealth of trial experience.
The luminous Liu and her disturbingly brilliant husband, law professor Michael Abramowicz — see NYT wedding announcement here — have two children. Great job, great husband, great kids. Who says you can’t have it all?*
Congratulations to Katie Haun, Jessie Liu, and Ken Wainstein’s entire team at the NSD!
* But please don’t hate Liu for her charmed life; she’s also one of the nicest and most wonderful human beings you’ll ever meet.
Kenneth L. Wainstein Sworn in As First Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division [DOJ press release]
Earlier: Congratulations to Ken Wainstein!

ken wainstein kenneth wainstein kenneth l wainstein.jpgOkay, so he’s no Alice Fisher — the ball-busting, badass blonde, recently confirmed to head the DOJ’s Criminal Division, who has white-collar criminals shaking in their boots. But he’s still a highly regarded attorney — and pretty cute, too.
So ATL sends its congratulations to Kenneth L. Wainstein, just confirmed by the Senate as assistant attorney general for the Department’s brand-new National Security Division (NSD). Previously Wainstein served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The Wall Street Journal — which criticized the Democrats for holding up Wainstein’s nomination 4-evah — describes Ken Wainstein’s new job as follows:

Mr. Wainstein is waiting to fill a new post recommended in last year’s Robb-Silberman report to further break down the “wall” between intelligence and law enforcement. The new post would bring Justice’s counterespionage, counterintelligence and wiretapping units under one Assistant AG. Mr. Wainstein would also be the law enforcement world’s primary liaison with the intelligence community.

President Bush approved the change, Congress authorized it while renewing the Patriot Act earlier this year, and Mr. Wainstein’s offices are humming with computers. All that’s missing is a leader.

Letting Wainstein go through was a smart move for the Democrats. We’re no political strategists, but we do know this much: With an election just a few weeks away, it’s unwise for the Democrats to hold up the nomination of someone with the words “National Security” in his title.
Wainstein, by the way, is putting together a real A-team of legal talent over at the NSD, including several members of the Elect. As we previously reported, one of them is conservative legal superstar Brett Gerry — the Silbermaniac and former Kennedy clerk, who was associate general counsel to the Robb-Silberman commission. Also onboard: John Demers (O’Scannlain/Scalia), the affable legal genius who previously did a tour of duty with the Office of Legal Counsel (which works on many national security issues).
So congrats again to Ken Wainstein. And best of luck to his band of brainiacs, as they tackle some of the toughest issues facing our nation.
Kenneth Wainstein bio [WhiteHouse.gov]
Gonzales Statement on Confirmation of Ken Wainstein as Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division [DOJ Press Release]
Security Holdup [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]
Earlier: Congratulations to Alice Fisher!
The White House Counsel’s Office: Here Comes the Cavalry