UPDATE (5:43 p.m.): The commission will be accepting applications through May 11 (not May 20, as we previously reported). In a statement announcing the opening of the U.S. attorney review process, Norton's office shed some light on how she will proceed once the commission makes its recommendations: "Norton, after doing her own due diligence on the recommendations, will indicate her preferences for the positions to the President, who makes nominations for confirmation by the Senate."
The search for the next U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has begun. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) opened the application process today. The nominating commission she resurrected from the Clinton years will be accepting applications for the post through May 11. The application can be downloaded here.
Formally known as the Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission, the body will also review candidates for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, U.S. marshal, and other federal offices that oversee the District. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Pauline Schneider, who chairs the 17-member body, said the commission is staggering its work, focusing on the U.S. attorney slot first, though she said Norton could make applications available for three vacancies on the federal district court as soon as next week.
Several names have already surfaced for U.S. attorney. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Ron Machen, McDermott Will & Emery partner Roy Austin Jr., and D.C. Superior Judge Thomas Motley -- all veterans of the office -- are said to be considering a run for the job. Monty Wilkinson, who recently left the office’s No. 3 position to join Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s staff, has also been named as a potential candidate by several former D.C. federal prosecutors.
The names of the applicants and their questionnaires will not be made public. Once the review is complete, the commission will forward at least three names to Norton. As we noted earlier this week, it’s still unclear whether Norton will submit a three-name slate to President Barack Obama for consideration or recommend one name for each position, as she did during the Clinton administration. Norton, through a spokeswoman, has repeatedly declined to discuss her communications with the White House on the matter.
White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said, obliquely, “We are confident that she will share names with us from her commission that are consistent with that process."