Christopher Schroeder, a professor at Duke University School of Law, is the leading candidate to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Schroeder -- who teaches classes on Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, and Congress, among other topics -- has served on Capitol Hill as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, as acting assistant attorney general during the Clinton Administration. He was also a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team.
As the assistant attorney general of OLP, Schroeder would serve as Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden’s chief policy adviser. The role also involves coordinating with the Office of Legislative Affairs to push the department’s initiatives in Congress and shepherding judicial nominees through the confirmation process.
The BLT reported in January that Obama planned to nominate Mayer Brown partner Mark Gitenstein to head the Office of Legal Policy. Like Schroeder, Gitenstein is a highly regarded lawyer and was chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during then-Sen. Joe Biden Jr.’s chairmanship, but liberal opposition to his lobbying on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce forced the White House to reconsider his nomination. Roll Call reported the change of heart in February. (Subscription required.)
Schroeder is also of counsel at O'Melveny and Myers. Walter Dellinger, chair of the firm’s appellate practice and also a professor at Duke, professed no knowledge of Schroeder’s situation but said he would be an ideal candidate for the post.
“I know of few people that know the Justice Department and Congress as well as Chris,” said Dellinger, who served as head of the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration.
Schroeder did not respond to requests for comment.
Reporter David Ingram contributed to this report.