Monday, November 10, 2008

Transition Watch!

As President-Elect Barack Obama packs up boxes and calls U-Haul for quotes from Hyde Park to Pennsylvania Avenue, it's worth keeping an eye on the lawyers that will play a role in the new administration.   While I posted on this Friday, much has happened even over the weekend.  So, each week (or as often as is necessary) until the inaugaration, I will provide a summary of major transition happenings.

The Executive Branch

As speculated prior to the election, the leadership of the Defense Department and the CIA may remain unchanged.  The same cannot be said for the rest of Washington.  The race for the AG position has gained a few more contenders, including Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, and Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.  However, as the article notes, no matter who should win the position, the issues the candidates should be considering are "warrantless surveillance, the legal status of Guantánamo Bay detainees and integration techniques."

The Legislature

There is not much more to report on the new team's legislative agenda.  For the moment, it's still all about the economy.  Obama will have some time before he has to work on foreign policy.

The Judiciary

The New Jersey Star-Ledger has a great piece about the possible shift on the Court brought by an Obama administration.  The article states that unless Kennedy - the perrenial swing vote - retires soon, the Court's current 5-4 deadlock will remain for some time.  However, if President Obama should be reelected in 2012, it's possible that either Kennedy and/or Scalia, both of whom will be 80 by that time, will retire.  Legal Times has another wonderful piece on what motivates a justice to stay or leave - and usually, it isn't politics, though politics sometimes plays a small role. 

When we get more news, I'll update accordingly, so watch this space!


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