4 Justice Dept. Picks Mark Break From Bush Era

Obama taps Harvard dean, Clinton vets
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2009 5:17 AM CST
Attorney General-designate Eric Holder speaks during a news conference with President-elect Barack Obama in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama announced his nominees for four top positions in the Justice Department yesterday, all of whom suggest a sharp turn away from Bush-era legal policies. Among them is Elena Kagan, the dean of Harvard Law School and a Clinton adviser, who is the first woman named solicitor general. In his announcement yesterday the president-elect said he hoped that a post-Bush Justice Department "once again fulfills its highest purpose: to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people."

Obama's other nominees for top legal jobs, under Attorney General Eric Holder, are also veterans of the Clinton administration:

  • David Ogden, a Washington lawyer and Janet Reno's chief of staff, for deputy AG.
  • Thomas Perrelli, also a Reno veteran, for associate AG.
  • Dawn Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University, for head of the Office of Legal Counsel. Johnsen wrote an article last year entitled "What’s a President to Do: Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration’s Abuses."