Joan Donoghue, the No. 2 lawyer in the U.S. State Department and former top lawyer at mortgage giant Freddie Mac, has been nominated to be a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Under the procedure for nominations to the court, Donoghue was chosen by a four-lawyer committee that included her boss, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh, and her former boss, Arnold & Porter partner John Bellinger III, who served as legal adviser from 2005 to 2009. Donoghue faces confirmation votes, expected in September, in the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly.
She would be one of 15 members of the International Court of Justice, which hears disputes between countries on a wide array of issues.
In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Donoghue “judicious, fair, an extraordinary international legal counsel, and an excellent choice for the Court.”
Donoghue has been the State Department’s principal deputy legal adviser since 2007, serving under Republican and Democratic administrations, and she was acting legal adviser in early 2009 prior to Koh’s Senate confirmation. She manages an office of 265 lawyers and support staff, according to her department biography.
Donoghue worked at Freddie Mac from 2001 to 2005, including as general counsel and corporate secretary. She was deputy general counsel at the Treasury Department from 1999 to 2000. Earlier in her career, she was an associate at Covington & Burling and a career lawyer with the State Department.
Judge Thomas Buergenthal, who joined the International Court of Justice in 2000, is leaving the court to rejoin the faculty at George Washington University’s law school. The court may not include more than one member from any one country.