By Kent Larsen
LDS Law Professor Named Assistant Attorney General
WASHINGTON, DC -- US President George W. Bush recently named LDS law
professor Jay S. Bybee to be Assistant Attorney General for the
Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice. If confirmed by
the Senate, Bybee will function as the legal advisor to the President
and all the executive branch agencies, preparing written opinions and
oral advice in response to queries from the Counsel to the President
and from the various agencies of the executive branch. Bybee is
currently on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas'
William S. Boyd School of Law.
A specialist in constitutional law and in administrative law, Bybee
already has experience advising the US President on legal matters.
During the Reagan and George Bush (Sr.) administrations, Bybee worked
as an attorney in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy,
and for the last two years of the Bush administration he was
Associate Counsel to the President, working in the White House.
Bybee is a 1980 cum laude graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law
School where he was Business Manager for the Law Review, and also
holds a bachelor's degree from BYU. He grew up in Las Vegas where, as
he told UNLV Magazine in 1999, he had wanted to be a lawyer since age
nine, "I had a teacher named Mr. Gustafson at Bonanza Elementary
School who talked about government and interested me in current
events. I have never wanted to be anything else."
After finishing law school, Bybee clerked for the Honorable Donald
Russell of the US Court of Appeals, 4th circuit and then went to work
for the Washington, DC law firm Sidley &Austin. Three years later,
in 1984, he joined the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy
and eventually moved to the White House in 1989.
In 1991 Bybee left government service to start teaching
constitutional and administrative law, first at LSU's Paul M. Herbert
Law Center, where he taught from 1991 through 1998. Then he learned
that UNLV was starting a law school, and decided to join its initial
faculty, "When I heard that UNLV was opening a law school, my wife
and I decided that we should look into it, that a new state school
might be a really interesting opportunity," he told the UNLV Magazine
in 1999. "The move has brought back a lot of great memories and
reintroduced me to more than a few friends."
Now Bybee is looking at a cross-country move, should the US Senate
approve his nomination. It will also be a return to Washington DC and
to national politics, this time in a more significant role.
Attorney General Ashcroft Welcomes White House Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
US Dept of Justice Press Release 10Jul01 T2
Class Action: Jay Bybee
UNLV Magazine Fall99 T2