President Barack Obama has nominated Ketanji Jackson, of counsel to the D.C. office of Morrison & Foerster, to fill a spot on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Jackson, 38, would be one of seven voting members of the commission, which overseas the sentencing guidelines used by federal judges and advises Congress on criminal law. The position is part-time, requires confirmation by the Senate, and would end in October 2013.
Jackson previously was on staff at the commission as an assistant special counsel from 2003 to 2005. She was an assistant federal public defender in the District from 2005 to 2007, when she joined Morrison & Foerster. She has argued about six cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, according to her firm biography. Jackson, whose practice focuses on appellate litigation, did not return a call for comment.
Obama has named at least two other lawyers from Morrison & Foerster to key legal posts: Tony West, who had been a partner in the San Francisco office, as assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Division; and Beth Brinkmann, previously a partner and veteran Supreme Court practitioner, as deputy assistant attorney general heading up the Appellate Staff in the Civil Division.
Jackson (Harvard, Harvard Law) would succeed Michael Horowitz, a partner in the D.C. office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft whom the Senate confirmed in 2003. Jackson clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
In April, Obama nominated a new chairman for the Sentencing Commission: Chief Judge William K. Sessions III of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, who has been on the commission since 1999. Sessions has not received a vote by the full Senate, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has accused Republicans of stalling Sessions’ nomination in retaliation for the speed of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation process.