Jan. 6, 2009
POSTION: ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
NOMINEE: Thomas J. Perrelli
Born: March 12, 1966
Occupation: Managing Partner of Jenner & Block's Washington, DC office.
Education: graduated from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, in 1991
Clinton White House: In 1997, served as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno. He subsequently rose to Deputy Assistant Attorney General, supervising the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division, which represents virtually every federal agency in complex civil litigation. Perrelli also supervised the Justice Department's Tobacco Litigation Team in its litigation against the major cigarette manufacturers.
End of Life issues
"An attorney who won an award for representing Terri Schiavo's husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife is now an advisor to the transition team of incoming president Barack Obama.
Thomas Perrelli, who raised over $500,000 for the pro-abortion presidential candidate and is the managing partner of a Washington law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, is helping advise Obama on putting together a Justice Department team.
However, Perrelli provided Michael Schiavo with legal advice during his response to the Congressional bill that President Bush signed allowing the Schindler family to take their lawsuit seeking to prevent Terri's euthanasia death from state to federal courts.
Perrelli led the Jenner & Block team that developed the legal briefs opposing appeals for Michael and he ultimately received the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award in October 2006 for representing Terri's former husband at no cost.
On Michael's legal team, Perrelli worked with infamous pro-euthanasia attorney George Felos as well as lawyers from the Florida chapter of the ACLU."
Background: "The 2010 midterm elections and the resulting battles over redistricting will shape the future of both political parties. A case challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is being offered to the Supreme Court, highlighting these political stakes. And President-elect Barack Obama's Justice Department is about to take center stage in this fight. The Constitution requires legislative districts be redrawn after each decennial national census. The 2010 midterm elections will determine the makeup of all 50 state legislatures. With few exceptions, these legislatures will then draw new lines of all congressional districts, as well as many state legislative districts, for the 2012 election and beyond. A major factor in this redistricting is the Voting Rights Act. A number of VRA's provisions apply nationwide, originally designed to protect the right of African Americans to vote. But another provision of the law has been challenged in a case that has now been offered to the U.S. Supreme Court. Section Five of the VRA requires certain jurisdictions with a history of egregious racism to go through a special process before they can make any changes affecting voting. Under Section Five, these jurisdictions must get pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department before they can redistrict or make any other changes to their election laws or procedures, or get a three-judge panel of the federal district court in D.C. to sign off on the jurisdiction's plan. The law requires the Justice Department or the federal court to determine whether the changes would have either the purpose or the effect of abridging the right to vote." Blackwell, Ken. "Obama Justice." Washington Times Dec. 31, 2008.
"Mr. Perrelli, a former Justice Department official and Harvard Law School classmate of Mr. Obama's, helped raise $500,000 for the president-elect's campaign, has worked as an attorney for the recording industry, which has significant business before the Justice Department, and represented Democratic lawmakers and voters involved in politically charged redistricting cases, an issue certain to rise again with the 2010 census." Dinan, Stephen. "Obama's Justice Picks Draws Ire of Pro-lifers." Jan. 6, 2009.
Close friendship with President-elect Obama
"At Harvard, (Cassandra) Butts was moot court partners with Perrelli, who first met Obama at the dinner party and served as his managing editor on the Harvard Law Review. Perrelli, a Washington lawyer who had never been a fundraiser, would go on to collect more than $500,000 for Obama's presidential campaign. He is now part of the Department of Justice transition team.
'We have all been friends together, and we found a common enterprise through Barack,' Perrelli said. Perrelli occupied seat 151 of professor Laurence Tribe's constitutional law class in the fall 1989 semester - just a few feet away from Obama (seat 26) and two others who would prove vital to his ambitions: Julius Genachowski (93) and Michael Froman (103)."