February 06, 2008

Obama's and HiLIARy's legal teams via Emily Bazelon

Will torture end under the democrats .. let's take a peek??? John McCain is torture enough .. and we've examined Mitt Romney's team already on this blog ..


The law, lawyers, and the court.

On the Advice of CounselThe campaigns build their legal brain trusts. Plus: What did all the lawyer-candidates get on their LSATs?

Barack Obama's legal policy advisers:

Cass Sunstein
Professor of law
University of Chicago

Laurence Tribe
Professor of law

Eric Holder
Partner, Covington & Burling
Deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration

Geoffrey Stone
Professor of law
University of Chicago

Einer Elhauge
Professor of law

Christopher Edley
Dean and professor of law
Boalt Hall, UC-Berkeley

Daniel Tarullo
Professor of law
Georgetown University

Gary Feinerman
Partner, Sidley & Austin
Former Illinois solicitor general

Spencer Overton
Professor of law
George Washington University

Ronald Sullivan
Professor of law

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
Professor of law

Tobias Wolff
Professor of law

Judith Gold
Partner, Perkins Coie

From http://www.slate.com/id/2177688/pagenum/2

Emily Bazelon

Now for the Dems. From Obama and Edwards, I got shorter lists. Since the campaigns haven't posted them, I will: Obama's is here, and Edwards' is here. From Hillary Clinton's campaign, I got no response at all, despite repeated cajoling and eventually begging. Either there are no lawyers whose policy views Clinton cares to hear, or too many to have yet whittled down. The Democrats, it seems, at the moment aren't as interested in dropping well-known legal names to court or reassure a particular constituency. They're not eagerly aligning themselves with Bill Clinton's Justice Department or the clerks of the more left-leaning justices, or with the American Constitution Society, which aspires to be the liberal counterpoint to the Federalist Society.


Obama looks from his list like a darling and a devotee of the legal academy. And within those halls, he's got some range. There's Cass Sunstein, advocate for judicial restraint and minimalism—the idea (not especially persuasive, in my view) that judges should refrain from exercising too much power. But there's also Laurence Tribe, who is a more stalwart backer of a forthright liberal view of the Constitution (and who parries Olson on Giuliani's team, because Tribe helped litigate Bush v. Gore for the Democrats). Obama also has Christopher Edley, the dean of UC-Berkeley's law school, who has written thoughtfully and moderately about affirmative action, and Ronald Sullivan, who teaches at Harvard* and is a real live criminal defense lawyer for clients who can't afford one.

It's a something-for-everyone list, rather than one that nails Obama down. At this stage of the campaign, for a Democrat, that's probably smart. As for the lawyers, what do they risk by tossing their names in now, if their candidate doesn't prevail in the primary? It's a trade-off: Getting in early is a plus (if, for example, you're lobbying for a court appointment). But it's generally not a disaster to bet wrong, as long as you don't engage in personal attacks. Expect defections later—lawyers are pretty good at changing horses.

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