Joe Whitley: Senate should confirm Jeffrey Rosen as deputy attorney general

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a confirmation hearing Wednesday on the nomination of Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 official at the Transportation Department, to become deputy attorney general, replacing Rod Rosenstein. Rosen is an outstanding lawyer who deserves bipartisan support to take over the second-ranking job at the Justice Department. 

As a former prosecutor, U.S. attorney and acting associate attorney general, I’ve seen firsthand what it takes to be a leader at the Justice Department. I am 100 percent confident that Jeff Rosen has the background and skills to be a stellar deputy attorney general.

Rosen has had a distinguished career in his three decades of both private practice and public service.

TRUMP TO NOMINATE JEFF ROSEN TO REPLACE ROD ROSENSTEIN AS DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL

When I first met Rosen in 2003, he served as general counsel at the Transportation Department under the incomparable Secretary Norman Mineta. He led a team of more than 400 attorneys at the department.

At the time, I was working as the general counsel for the Homeland Security Department. During a time when America was still in crisis from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Rosen’s steady maneuvering of responsibilities at the Transportation Department demonstrated strong leadership and management skills.

For example, improved regulations to ensure better flight deck security, as well as much needed flight restrictions over our nation’s capital and other locations, were issued on Rosen’s watch.  His work helped make the American people safer.

After I returned to private practice, Rosen continued to rise in the George W. Bush administration. He was selected to serve as general counsel and senior policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget – which some have called the nerve center of the federal government – for the remainder of the administration.

Rosen later succeeded me as the chair of the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association.

In that role, Rosen was successful in leading that high-powered intellectual section of the American Bar Association. His knowledge and appreciation of the complexities of administrative law served him well.

Rosen was highly respected by lawyers of all political views who served on the governing council for the Administrative Law Section. The late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia had previously served as chair.

Rosen is currently doing great work as deputy secretary of transportation.

The Senate has recognized Rosen’s credentials and confirmed him to two positions already. It should do so now for the position of deputy attorney general.

I’ve worked with a number of deputy attorneys general over my career. All of my experience gives me great confidence that Rosen will do an excellent job.

The deputy attorney general is essentially the chief operating officer of the Justice Department. The job requires managerial skills just as much as legal skills. As the deputy to a Cabinet secretary and as a former litigation partner at one of the top law firms in America, Rosen has both.

This position requires the ability to support the goals and objectives of the attorney general. Further, the deputy must possess the leadership and administrative knowledge to run the Justice Department day to day.

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I am confident Rosen will leverage the skills and acumen of the career attorneys who work hard every day to carry out the important work of the Justice Department. I am equally confident that he will surround himself with the best and brightest of staff to assist him with all areas of the law and policy essential to the performance of his duties as deputy attorney general.

The Senate has an opportunity to confirm a qualified and deserving nominee who will guide the Justice Department forward with strength and experience.