Dana Remus made legal history in the White House. Now she’s moving on: NPR


White House attorney Dana Remus, center, sits next to former Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., right, as they listen during a confirmation hearing for the court nominee Supreme Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Andrew Harnik/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Andrew Harnik/AP

Dana Remus made legal history in the White House. Now she's moving on: NPR

White House attorney Dana Remus, center, sits next to former Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., right, as they listen during a confirmation hearing for the court nominee Supreme Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Andrew Harnik/AP

The White House’s top lawyer is stepping down after more than a year and a half in the role, NPR has learned.

White House attorney Dana Remus made history by helping confirm the first black woman to the United States Supreme Court. She also set records for appointing dozens of lower court judges with diverse professional backgrounds, selecting public defenders and civil rights lawyers for lifetime positions.

Current Deputy White House Adviser Stuart Delery will replace Remus, who served current President Joe Biden for three years, serving as his senior campaign adviser and later his chief counsel. Among his many duties: play a key behind-the-scenes role in Biden’s decision not to assert executive privilege over documents and testimony in the US Capitol seat on January 6, 2021.

“The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to protect, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to overturn the Constitution itself,” Remus wrote in a letter to the National Archives. last year.

Associates said the job was a pressure cooker from the start. During the campaign, Remus launched a war room that included three former solicitors general and hundreds of volunteer lawyers who prepared to fight in and out of court as former President Donald Trump challenged the election.

“There were few people more essential to ensuring the president took office like Dana was,” said Jeff Zients, co-chair of Biden’s transition team and a former adviser to the president.

“Many of the extraordinary threats to the electoral process that we had speculated about were emerging in real time before our eyes,” group member Don Verrilli told NPR. “Dana led this whole process with aplomb, and she made exactly the right judgments 100% of the time.”

Once in the White House, Remus made diversity a top priority. Nearly three-quarters of Biden’s judicial nominees are women. Almost one in three is black and almost one in three has experience as a public defender.

This focus also carried over into the legal ranks of the White House Counsel’s office. The founding team included a majority of women and people with public interest backgrounds.

An administration official said her replacement, Delery, 53, would be the first openly gay person to serve as a White House attorney.

He is currently managing such important issues as the administration’s response to the pandemic.

Dana Remus made legal history in the White House. Now she's moving on: NPR

As Associate Attorney General, Stuart Delery speaks about the indictments of 14 owners and employees of the New England Compounding Center Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Boston.

Steven Senne/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Steven Senne/AP

Dana Remus made legal history in the White House. Now she's moving on: NPR

As Associate Attorney General, Stuart Delery speaks about the indictments of 14 owners and employees of the New England Compounding Center Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Boston.

Steven Senne/AP

Prior to that, Delery held senior positions in the Obama Justice Department, where he led efforts to implement the landmark Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ+ rights in USA v Windsor across the federal government. The Human Rights Campaign called the effort the largest LGBTQ rights award in history. Earlier in his career, Delery clerked for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Byron White. He and his husband have two children.

“My family is the most important thing in the world to me,” Delery told NPR in 2014. “One of the critical ideas…of Windsor Supreme Court ruling was that same-sex married couples face the same joys and challenges as their opposite-sex married neighbors. »

Verrilli, who worked as solicitor general during the Obama years, said he interacted with Delery throughout that time.

“He is known and trusted by the President and senior White House leadership,” Verrilli said. “He’s a calm and steady presence. He has great judgement. And he’s a great team player.”

Avoid self-promotion and focus on work

Remus, 46, prefers to work outside the limelight. She did not accept an interview for an article about her leaving government service.

But Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Supreme Court justice who will take office next term, thought enough of Remus to express her thanks “for his impressive leadership” after his Senate confirmation in April. Jackson will be the first black woman on the high court and the first person with public defense experience since Justice Thurgood Marshall.

In the short term, a White House official said Remus plans to spend more time with her husband and infant son.

Remus addressed the arc of his career last month, in a commencement speech at Drexel University Law School.

“I joined a political campaign for the first time in my life when I was five months pregnant,” Remus told the graduates. “I decided based on what felt right, what excited me, what inspired me. And it worked. Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self not to get too excited. worry.”

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said he would miss Remus “tremendously, as a great friend and colleague, but I know we are in good hands with Stuart, who played a key role in everything office work since day one.”

Robert Bauer, a White House attorney in the Obama administration, said Remus and Delery’s approach of avoiding self-promotion and focusing on the job could be a model for other aspiring lawyers.

“It shows you that there is another possible path in Washington: their performance,” Bauer said.


npr

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button