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March 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Uncertainty Abounds When it Comes to Appointments of U.S. Attorneys

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia stepped down

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia stepped down

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — In these uncertain times, there’s plenty uncertainty as to who will fill the dozens of presidential-appointed U.S. Attorney posts around the country. Things are moving slowly.

So far, there have been no official nominations for any new U.S. Attorneys, though there have been plenty of recommendations and a whirlwind of speculation.

At this point, one thing appears certain: Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a Bush appointee who is often spoken of in glowing terms among colleagues nationwide, is staying put under the Obama regime.

The Obama administration has asked the other current U.S. Attorneys to stay put until further notice. But slowly, here and there, Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys have been leaving to go into private practice or run for office.  Many others are flooding the job market with resumes.

There are 93 U.S. Attorney posts in the nation.

To date, the Justice Department says there are 50 sitting U.S. Attorneys who are Bush appointees. The rest are either “acting” or “interim” U.S. Attorneys. The Obama  regime has indicated that some U.S. Attorneys might be able to stay even if they were Republican appointees.

In places like New Orleans, the U.S. Attorney hopes to stay on. In Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, a conservative Bush appointee, has expressed interest in staying, but that is not likely to happen, sources say.

In Washington, U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor, popular among the troops, is staying put for now, but Congress member Eleanaor Holmes Norton may want to use her influence to push for a Democratic appointee.

In some states, committees have been formed to recommend candidates. In Alabama, for instance, a judicial advisory committee formed by Rep Artur Davis (D-Ala.) has recommended as its first choices three women for the three U.S. Attorney posts in the state.

The following is a sampling of the U.S. Attorneys who have departed:

  • U.S. Attorney John F. Wood of the Western District of Missouri stepped down to take a job at a Washington Wall Street firm, Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
  • Colorado U.S. Atty. Troy Eid , the first Egyptian-American U.S. Attorney, has resigned to launch a bid for for state Attorney General in 2010.
  • Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic quit to  join the Wisconsin law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich as a partner in the litigation practice group.
  • McGregor W. Scott of Sacramento left to take a job at the Sacramento law firm of law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a law partner.
  • North Texas U.S. Attorney Richard Roper stepped down to become a senior partner at a Dallas-based law firm Thompson & Knight.
  • Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, stepped down late last year.
  • Vermont’s U.S. Attorney Thomas Anderson just recently stepped down to take a post in the Justice Department in Washington
  • Alexandria, Va.’s U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg stepped down in October, but declined at the time to say what his future plans were.
  • Christopher J. Christie, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney, stepped down in December. Some have been encouraging him to make a run for governor.
  • Houston U.S. Attorney Donald DeGabrielle stepped down last year to join the Houston law firm Fulbright & Jaworski to work in international governmental investigations and white-collar defense.
  • Detroit U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy stepped down last summer to become a U.S. District judge.

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