U.S. Justice Department senior official Kathryn Ruemmler is moving to the White House to become a deputy counsel to the president, an Obama administration official confirmed today.
Ruemmler has been principal associate to David Ogden, the department's No. 2 official, who announced today that he is resigning to return to private practice. She was a partner at Latham & Watkins before joining the department this year, and previously she was deputy director of the Enron Task Force, presenting the government’s closing argument in the trial of former executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
Ruemmler was an associate White House counsel, a step below the deputy level, during the Clinton administration.
The move, first reported by The Washington Post, will help fill out a White House Counsel’s Office that is in transition. Counsel Gregory Craig is planning to leave in January, to be replaced with Perkins Coie partner Robert Bauer.
Ruemmler will fill a spot left vacant when Cassandra Butts announced her departure Nov. 6. Butts, a former top aide to Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), is becoming a senior adviser to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a federal agency fighting global poverty.
The administration official declined to elaborate on what Ruemmler’s role will be. Butts’ portfolio included helping to evaluate and select nominees for the federal judiciary.
There are two other deputy counsel, according to the most recent public list: Daniel Meltzer, a longtime Harvard Law professor who is principal deputy, and Mary DeRosa, deputy counsel for national security who previously worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In August, Ruemmler’s name was floated by The Recorder in San Francisco as a candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. The American Lawyer named her a Star Lateral for 2007, after Ruemmler joined Latham’s D.C. office.
An earlier version of this post listed an incorrect law firm for Robert Bauer.