Chicago’s Counsel

The new issue of the ABA Journal features a cover story called “The Lawyers Who May Run America” that speculates on which attorneys are most likely to attain senior positions in either an Obama or McCain administration.

I found two Chicago connections among the speculative McCain picks. One is potential solicitor general Maureen Mahoney, who heads up Latham & Watkins’ appellate litigation group in Washington, D.C. Mahoney is a University of Chicago Law School graduate whom, the ABA says, has been called “the female John Roberts” by legal historian David Garrow. The second is Michael McConnell, a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who is also a University of Chicago Law School graduate and is mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court pick.

At least three names with Chicago connections are mentioned among possible Obama appointees, including the choice du jour for everything from White House chief of staff to replacement in the U.S. Senate Valerie Jarrett. In this case, the ABA has Jarrett tabbed for HUD Secretary.

Law professor Cass Sunstein is at Harvard now, but he is a former University of Chicago Law School colleague of Obama’s and an advisor. He is also married to Samantha Power, one of Obama’s foreign policy specialists also likely to play a role in an Obama administration. The ABA thinks Sunstein is in line to be White House domestic policy advisor. (He supported George W. Bush’s appointment of Michael McConnell to the court of appeals, by the way.)

Diane Wood who sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois and is based in Chicago, is seen as a potential Supreme Court pick. “A Clinton appointee to the appeals court, Wood is seen as one of the country’s smartest judges,” the ABA says. “She’s a liberal who has authored a fair amount of high-profile dissents in the conservative 7th Circuit.”

Notable omissions include U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a Harvard Law School graduate frequently mentioned as a possible U.S. attorney general or FBI chief, and Bill Daley, a John Marshall Law School graduate. Daley sounds far more interested in running for governor than returning to Washington, but he is a former Commerce Secretary under Bill Clinton.

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In a brief roundup (not available yet online) of similar speculation among a variety of media sources, the new Chicago magazine cites U.S. News & World Report predicting Bill Daley as Treasury Secretary, while Ebony Jet picks Jarrett for the same job.

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