Channing Phillips has been named acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said today. Jeffrey Taylor, who held the post for the past 2 plus years, announced yesterday he was stepping aside to join the Washington office of Ernst & Young. Today is his last day.
The move could amount to a dress rehearsal for Phillips, 51, the office’s No. 2 official. He is one of seven lawyers who have applied for the District’s U.S. attorney position, according to sources. Phillips and the other candidates interviewed with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s 17-member nominating commission earlier this week. The commission is expected to make its recommendations to Norton soon. Typically, the commission submits three names, but Norton has not said whether she will present President Barack Obama with the full slate or one candidate of her choosing.
Phillips (UVa, Howard Law) joined the office in 1994 as line prosecutor, after four years at Main Justice as a trial lawyer in the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He served as chief of staff and special counsel to the District's top prosecutor before then-U.S. Attorney Ken Wainstein tapped Phillips as principal assistant U.S. attorney in 2004. In addition to helping the U.S. attorney manage day-to-day operations, Phillips also serves as the office's chief spokesman.