|Julius Genachowski (CC’85)
President Barack Obama (CC’83) announced that he plans to nominate Julius Genachowski (CC’85) for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
If approved, Genachowski will join five other Columbia alumni—from Columbia College, Columbia Law School and the School of Social Work—who are joining the administration in a wide variety of positions, ranging from attorney general to White House counsel to the vice president’s economic adviser.
Genachowski is an entrepreneur and technology executive who has worked in both the private and public sector. Indeed, one of his first jobs after law school and Supreme Court clerkships was at the FCC, where he was a special legal counsel and later chief counsel under then-chairman Reed Hundt.
Genachowski later spent eight years in senior positions at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp., and has served on the boards of such new media ventures as The Motley Fool, Beliefnet, Website Pros, Mark Ecko Enterprises, Expedia, Hotels.com and Ticketmaster. He is a co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures, which invests in and advises digital media and commerce firms.
University Trustee Eric Holder (CC’73, LAW’76) was sworn in as attorney general on Feb. 3. The first African American to hold that position, Holder, a trustee of the University since 2007, has spent many years in public service. His prior jobs include stints as a deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton as well as acting attorney general and associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to which he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Holder has also been a federal prosecutor.
As attorney general, he succeeds another Columbian, Michael Mukasey (CC’63).
Trevor W. Morrison is both a professor and a 1998 alumnus of the law school. Morrison, who teaches constitutional law, has been appointed associate White House counsel to the president.
The counsel’s office advises the president on a wide range of legal issues related to policy, legislation, financial disclosures and conflicts of interest. Morrison, a leading expert on separation of powers, federalism and executive branch legal interpretation, is taking a one-year public service leave from the law school. He joined the law school in July 2008.
Another law school alumnus, Jeh C. Johnson (’82), will be general counsel of the Department of Defense. This post is the chief legal officer for the largest department of government in the world. Johnson was an associate general counsel of the Department of the Air Force during the Clinton administration and, until his appointment, was a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Lanny A. Breuer (CC'80, LAW’85) has been nominated as assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Unit of the Department of Justice. Until recently, Breuer was a criminal defense lawyer with Covington & Burling, where Holder was a partner. He was a special White House counsel during the Clinton administration, from 1997 to 1999, representing the president during the impeachment proceedings. He specializes in white collar criminal and complex civil litigation, as well as congressional investigations.
Economist Jared Bernstein (SSW’94) is now chief economist for Vice President Joseph Biden. Bernstein spent the past 16 years at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank that concentrates on economic policy as it affects the interests of low- and middle-income workers. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Social Work.
Columbia almost had seven of its graduates in the administration when Judd Gregg (CC’69) was nominated to the post of commerce secretary. But less than two weeks after the nomination, Gregg withdrew his name from consideration.