Names continue to trickle out of lawyers who will work in the White House Counsel’s Office.
The latest is Columbia Law School Professor Trevor Morrison, who will be an associate counsel to President Barack Obama. He’s set to return to Washington after serving in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2000-01. He also worked as an associate at what was then Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.
“Professor Morrison’s powerful intellect and deep reservoirs of judgment will help guide the new administration,” said David Schizer, dean of Columbia Law School, in a news release. A White House spokeswoman declined to comment, saying no appointment had been announced.
In a brief telephone interview with Legal Times, Morrison said he would not have a formal portfolio but that he expects to spend part of his time on national security matters. He said he has been working on the Obama transition and will start Monday.
Obama tapped Williams & Connolly partner Gregory Craig to be White House counsel in November. Cassandra Butts, who had been general counsel to the transition, was named deputy White House counsel in December.
According to his Web site, Morrison teaches and writes about constitutional law and federal courts. “His recent writing has focused in particular on executive branch legal interpretation, as well as habeas corpus and executive detention.”
In a Columbia Law Review article in November 2007, Morrison examined the effects of a suspension of habeas corpus, and whether such a suspension affects the ultimate lawfulness of a detention. Concluding that a detention could still be unlawful, he wrote, “The Constitution can and does apply in times of strife as well as peace, when the courts are open and when they are not.”
Morrison joined Columbia Law School in July 2008, according to the school. He is taking a one-year public service leave.