Among the transition teams set up by President-elect Barack Obama are 14 lawyers picked from around the country to serve on the justice and civil rights team, which will evaluate agencies working in those areas.
The list includes a former California Supreme Court justice, four lawyers from big firms, a woman once appointed by Alabama Governor George Wallace, five law professors and a disabilities rights specialist.
Thomas Perez, who will serve as committee chairman. A consumer rights and civil rights attorney appointed in 2007 as secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, he spent the bulk of his career as a federal prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. As deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights from 1988 to 1995, he supervised high-profile civil rights prosecutions of white supremacists and hate crimes in Texas.
Members of the Department of Justice Review team are:
Dawn Johnsen, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University School of Law — Bloomington. She served as acting assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel (1997-97), and as deputy assistant attorney general (1993-1996). Prior to that, she was legal director for NARAL (1988-1993). She clerked for Judge Richard Cudahy of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
David William Ogden, co-chairman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s government and regulatory litigation group, specializing in high-stakes litigation and advice involving governmental entities and regulatory programs, including international legal issues. Ogden served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division (1999-2001), chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno (1997-99), deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense (1994-95) and associate deputy attorney general (1995-97). He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1982-83) and U.S. District Judge Abraham D. Sofaer (S.D.N.Y. 1981-82).
Tom Perelli, managing partner of the Washington office of Chicago-based Jenner & Block and a member of the firm’s management committee. Prior to returning to Jenner in 2001, Perelli served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division from 1999 to 2001, with responsibility over the Federal Programs Branch and partial responsibility for the Tobacco Litigation Team; from 1997-99, he served as counsel to the attorney general.
Alejandro Mayorkas, a partner in the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers. Mayorkas represents corporations and businesses in government enforcement and civil cases throughout the country. He served as the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001.
Theodore M. Shaw, professor of professional practice at Columbia Law School. He is also of counsel to Fulbright & Jaworski. Prior to joining Columbia, he was an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He served as assistant counsel and director of the Education Docket, western regional director, associate director-counsel, and director-counsel and president. Shaw started his legal career as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (1979-1982).
Leading the team on the Commission on Civil Rights is:
Aderson Bellegarde Francois, who works as an associate professor of law and director of the civil rights clinic at Howard University School of Law. Prior to joining Howard, he served as the associate director of the lawyering program at New York University School of law. He also clerked for the late A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. of the 3d Circuit and served as a special assistant at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Cruz Reynoso, a former California Supreme Court justice. He was named the first Latino to serve on the state’s high court and currently serves as deputy director of the California Fair Employment Practices Commission. Reynoso and two other justices were ousted by voters in a controversial 1986 election over the court’s votes on death penalties. After leaving the court, he joined the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He has also been a director of the California Rural Legal Assistance and served as vice-chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Working on the Election Assistance Commission Review team is:
Spencer Overton, a law professor at George Washington University Law School. He specializes in the law of democracy. Overton’s book Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression was published by in 2006. He has also served as a member of the Jimmy Carter-James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, the Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling, and the Election Assistance Commission’s Board of Advisors. Prior to joining the university, he practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton and clerked for 6th Circuit Judge Damon J. Keith.
Working on the Federal Election Commission Review team is:
Robert Lenhard, who served as chairman of the Federal Election Commission in 2007 and vice chairman of the agency in 2006. He is currently a member of Washington-based Covington & Burling’s election and political law practice group. Prior to joining the FEC, he served as associate general counsel for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, providing legal advice on the political process at the federal, state and local levels.
The Legal Services Corporation Review team will include:
Alan W. Houseman, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy. He has long been a leader of the national efforts to preserve and strengthen the federal Legal Services program. He has also been involved in a variety of capacities with the American Bar Association. Houseman has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and has previously taught at Wayne State University Law School.
LaVeeda Battle, who has practiced law for 30 years. She served in a sub-cabinet level appointment by former Governor George Wallace, as director and general counsel of the staff responsible for advocating for consumers in gas, electric and telephone rate cases before the Alabama Public Service Commission. She was one of the first administrative law judges in the Birmingham, Ala., office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Battle was managing attorney of the Bessemer office of Birmingham Area Legal Services. Battle served in the Clinton administration on the Board of Directors of Legal Services Corporation for 10 years.
Examining the National Council on Disability/Access Board Review will be:
Kareem Dale, managing partner of The Dale Law Group and adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Prior to founding The Dale Law Group, Dale spent eight years in the litigation department of a major law firm, where his practice focused on products liability, personal injury, mass tort litigation, contract disputes and other general commercial litigation.
Marilyn Golden, policy analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), who has been closely involved with the Americans With Disabilities Act throughout all the stages of its proposal and passage. As an ADA trainer, she has directed and led numerous in-depth programs on the ADA, which have given thousands of people comprehensive knowledge on how to make this law a reality. She is the principal author of the DREDF publication The ADA, an Implementation Guide (the “Bluebook”).