With little debate, the Senate has confirmed Thomas Perrelli as associate attorney general.
Senators voted 72-20 in favor of Perrelli’s nomination, installing him as the third-ranking official at the Justice Department overseeing its Antitrust Division, Civil Division, and several other components. Perrelli, who turns 43 today, is the managing partner of Jenner & Block’s D.C. office. He worked at the Justice Department for three years during the Clinton administration as counsel to then-Attorney General Janet Reno and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division.
Perrelli faced little opposition. Few senators chose to speak on his nomination today, and the Senate voted more than an hour earlier than had been planned.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) criticized Perrelli’s pro bono representation of Michael Schiavo, a Florida man who drew national attention for his ultimately successful effort to remove his wife, Terri, from life support against her parents’ wishes. Brownback said that, if confirmed, Perrelli would be in a position to remove barriers to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
“I think that’s a step back for us in protecting the sanctity of human life,” said Brownback, a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) responded that the concern is overblown. “I do not believe that Mr. Perrelli is a right-to-die advocate,” Leahy said.
The Judiciary Committee endorsed Perrelli 16-2 a week ago. He has been co-chair of Jenner & Block's entertainment and new media practice, and he helped represent MGM Studios in its case against the file-sharing software company Grokster.
Photo by Jeff Jeffrey