May 16, 2003

Bush nominates law professor for Assistant Attorney General

The White House recently announced that President Bush will nominate Law School Professor Jack Goldsmith to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.

Goldsmith will succeed Jay Bybee, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 13, 2003 as the newest judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bybee, 49, was considered an extremist by his critics, because of his opinions on federal rights on crucial issues such as abortion.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate into the position, Professor Goldsmith will assist U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (J.D. '67) as legal adviser to the President and all the executive branch agencies. As head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Goldsmith would also be responsible for providing legal advice to the executive branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality.

Chicago Law School students may not see much of Goldsmith after he begins his service as Assistant Attorney General. According to a White House press release, Goldsmith has recently accepted an offer to rejoin the faculty at the University of Virginia Law School.

Prior to coming to the U of C Law School in 1997, Goldsmith was an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School. Goldsmith received B.A.s from both Washington & Lee University and Oxford University. He graduated from Yale University Law School and received a diploma in private international law from the Hague Academy of International Law.

Goldsmith could not comment on his nomination, although he said his decision to return to the University of Virginia is not based on a desire to be closer to Washington, D.C.

According to Saul Levmore, dean of the U of C Law School, Professor Goldsmith is instead moving back to the University of Virginia for family reasons.

"We are hoping that after a couple of years in Washington, D.C. in this important job he will return here to his true home [at the U of C]," Levmore said.

At the U of C, Goldsmith has taught courses in subjects ranging from international law to constitutional law to slavery and federalism.

He is the author of Foreign Affairs Law: Cases and Materials and Conflict of Laws: Cases and Materials and is currently working on a third book, U.S. Civil Litigation and International Terrorism.