January 27, 2009
Harvard Law School alumni are filling the ranks of the Office of the White House Counsel. Six HLS alumni will be working in the office, which will be headed by Gregory Craig.
President Barack Obama ’91 said: “The White House Counsel’s office is tasked with making sure that we are operating under the highest standard of ethics and transparency for the American people. Ensuring that we have an open and honest government is one of our top priorities, and this team brings together people of exceptional experience and dedication to public service. I trust they will serve the American people well.”
HLS Professor Daniel Meltzer ’75 has been appointed principal deputy counsel to the President in the office while Cassandra Butts ’91 and Norman Eisen ’91 will be deputy counsels.
Meltzer joined the HLS faculty in 1982 and focuses his scholarship on federal court jurisdiction and criminal law. Butts, a classmate and close friend of Barack Obama’s, served as general counsel of his transition team. She also served as a domestic policy adviser during his campaign. Eisen is co-chair of the Public Client Practice at Zuckerman Spaeder and founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-profit government watchdog group.
Two other HLS alumni joined the office as associate counsels to the president: Michael Gottlieb ’03 and Danielle Gray ’03. Gottlieb is an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. Gray is a longtime Obama aide and former clerk to Associate Justice Stephen Breyer ’64 of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The President has named Blake Roberts ’06 to be deputy associate counsel to the president. Roberts recently served as a member of the pre-election transition team and then as assistant to transition executive director Chris Lu ’91, who has been appointed cabinet secretary.
The White House Counsel’s Office advises the President on the exercise of presidential powers and actions; defends presidential prerogatives; negotiates on the President’s behalf with a broad range of actors; oversees executive and judicial appointments and nominations; educates and monitors White House staff adherence to federal ethics and records management law; and handles White House, departmental, and agency contacts with the Department of Justice.
These alumni join a growing list of HLS alumni and professors who are joining the Obama administration.