Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Out While The Getting Is Good

It was announced yesterday that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich will be leaving the Department of Justice to become Dean of the University of Baltimore Law School.

From the university's announcement:
University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny has named Ronald Weich, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of Justice and former chief counsel to both U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, as the new dean of the University's School of Law. Weich, a longtime federal official with expertise in criminal justice and legislative process, will begin his tenure as dean in July. The University of Baltimore School of Law is the sixth largest public law school in the country, with more than 1,100 students at its midtown campus.

"Ron Weich is the right person to continue the growth and transformation of the UB School of Law," Bogomolny said in announcing Weich's appointment. "During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities. I look forward to working with him, and I know our students, faculty, staff and alumni will be energized by his arrival."

"UB is a law school with tremendous strengths and endless potential," Weich said. "I'm honored to be selected as dean, and I can't wait to join this vital institution."

Weich was appointed to his current Justice Department position by President Barack Obama in March 2009 and confirmed by the Senate the following month. In this role, he develops and implements strategies to advance the department's legislative priorities, coordinates the department's response to congressional oversight and guides nominees through the Senate confirmation process.

Prior to his work at the Justice Department, Weich served as chief counsel to Senator Reid from 2007-09 and in a similar capacity when Reid was minority leader in 2005-06. As principal legal adviser to the Democratic leader, Weich helped to manage Senate floor activity on Judiciary Committee bills and judicial nominations and coordinated related activities of the Democratic caucus. Weich played a key staff role in enactment of the 2007 ethics reform law, the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other significant legislation.

As Senator Kennedy's chief counsel (1995-97), general counsel (1992-95) and counsel (1990-92), Weich advised the senior senator from Massachusetts on civil and criminal justice issues, drug control policy, patient safety legislation, constitutional amendments and other matters.

From 1997-2004 Weich was an attorney in private practice at Zuckerman Spaeder, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm with a highly regarded Baltimore office. Earlier in his career, he served as special counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan.

Weich earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1983. He also holds a B.A. from Columbia University, which he received in 1980.

Ronald Weich, for those who are not familiar, has been the Department of Justice's designated obfuscator in hearings on Project Gunwalker before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He was the signer of the letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley which denied that ATF had knowingly allowed guns to walk. This letter was later retracted as being "inaccurate".

As Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says about Weich's resignation, it indicates that the Obama Administration is starting to move people out of "the target area" of the Project Gunwalker investigation.

One thing that struck me about the release announcing Weich's appointment as dean was what the President of the University of Baltimore, Robert Bogomolny, said about his appointment: "During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities." Leadership with integrity is not something I would associate with Ron Weich nor, for that matter, any of the higher-ups in the current Department of Justice.

You have to wonder if Dean Weich will be teaching any classes for the University of Baltimore Law School. If so, I'd suggest it be called Congressional Relations: How to Lie, Deny, and Obfuscate While Keeping a Straight Face.

H/T Mike Vanderboegh

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