Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker: A SHARP PROGRESSIVE JOINS THE D.O.J.

December 20th, 2013

The New Yorker
by Jeffrey Toobin
December 20, 2013

Pamela Karlan, a noted voting-rights expert and professor at Stanford Law School, will join the Obama Administration shortly as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the voting-rights section. Karlan, a favorite of many liberals in the legal world, will join the department as it begins a strong counter-offensive on voting rights following the Supreme Court’s limiting of the Voting Rights Act in a decision earlier this year.

Karlan’s post, which does not require Senate confirmation, will likely be at the center of a major legal controversy in the President’s second term—the attempt to salvage federal oversight of voting rights following the Supreme Court’s decision, last term, in Shelby County v. Holder. Karlan will be responsible for the Justice Department’s high-profile legal challenges to voting restrictions, including photo-I.D. requirements, in North Carolina and Texas.

Karlan, who is fifty-four, has been a leader of the progressive movement in the legal world for several decades, since she clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun following her graduation from Yale Law School, in 1984. Her specialty is voting rights, but she has been involved in a range of liberal causes, as both a professor and litigator. She is a co-author of the leading textbook on voting rights.

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