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Another senior Justice Depatment official is stepping down. Peter Keisler, assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, announced last week that he will leave on Sept. 21. A department spokesman says Keisler will spend the rest of the year with his family. He may cut short that time if the Senate acts on his stalled nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Keisler is one of about 12 political appointees who have resigned from the department this year. Most left after controversy erupted over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. Keisler, who oversaw the department’s legal fight over Guant�namo Bay detainees’s habeas corpus rights, successfully argued the government’s case against Salim Hamdan in 2005 before the same court he’s trying to get to. The Hamdan case was overturned a year later in a landmark Supreme Court victory that overthrew the Bush administration’s system for trying detainees. Keisler became head of the Civil Division on July 1, 2003, a year after joining the department from the D.C. office of Sidley Austin.
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez can be contacted at [email protected].

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