Obama’s Cabinet: Who Runs What After Tuesday

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso works at The Washington Post as a staff cartographer in their NewsArt department. He produces print graphics for daily publication and, lately, interactive graphics for WAPO’s online site.

I “borrowed” this flash interactive graphic of Obama’s Cabinet Picks by Kelso from his blog Kelso’s Corner where he says: “I created this interactive with Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton for the Dec. 21 edition of the Washington Post. President-elect Barack Obama completed his Cabinet picks just 7 weeks after his election on November 4th, 2008. Explore who he’s picked for twenty government agency compare to previous administrations. The little human shapes on the timeline are interactive, as well as the Obama cabinet photo collage, and the week tabs.“.

I thought it might be useful for anyone who is interested in and closely following Obama’s construction of his new administration.

Click on any of the images for more information on that person, their background, and the department they will be heading, or you can use the search function at top right to search by name or department.

The graphic is a Flash animation 20 pixels wider than the DD Banner, so I hope it doesn’t break the sidebar. If it does I’ll have to delete this essay, because the graphics don’t work if they are resized smaller. If you see a white rectangle or nothing, you can download a Flash Player Upgrade here.


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    • Edger on January 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Somebody has to run the world, no?

    • sharon on January 19, 2009 at 12:47 am

    first, for those like me who do not know what the dsg does, from wikipedia:

    The United States Solicitor General is the individual appointed to argue for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. The current Solicitor General is Gregory G. Garre. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Elena Kagan will become the next Solicitor General, under President-Elect Barack Obama. She would be the first woman to hold the position. (obviously the wiki entry has not yet been updated.)

    The Solicitor General advocates a technical legal position based upon the President’s political position. Above and beyond actually arguing cases before the Court, the Solicitor General’s office files amicus curiae briefs in virtually every case of significance to the federal government, even if it is not directly involved.

    The Solicitor General, who has offices in the Supreme Court Building as well as the Department of Justice Headquarters, has been nicknamed the “10th justice”, due to the frequent interaction and subsequent special relationship between the justices and the Solicitor General and their respective staffs of clerks and deputies. As the most frequent advocate before the Court (they appear dozens of times before the Court each term whereas even experienced private Supreme Court litigators often have fewer than ten appearances in their careers), the Solicitor General is extremely comfortable with the justices during the intimidating oral argument process. Further, when the Solicitor General’s office requests or recommends that a petition be granted certiorari, it is frequently granted, which is remarkable given that only approximately 75-125 petitions are granted review by the Court out of the over 7,500 submitted each term. As a result, the Solicitor General is considered to be among the most influential and knowledgeable people about the Supreme Court and constitutional law, other than the justices themselves. Given the level of legal ability and expertise required by such an important position, the office of United States Solicitor General is generally considered to be the highest office for a practicing lawyer in the United States, as opposed to the United States Attorney General, which while always held by a lawyer, is more of an administrative, political office. Not surprisingly, many who have worked as or for the Solicitor General have gone onto appointment as Supreme Court Justices.

    second, who is neil katyal?  neil katyal is a professor of law at georgetown who worked alongside eric holder (not sure if above or below).  he is also the lawyer who defended Hamdan in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

    third, this is what he wrote in the new york times re a special prosecutor in 1999:

    In 1999, when the Independent Counsel Act (the law that gave Kenneth Starr and Lawrence Walsh their mandates) was expiring, I was given the job of writing the new Justice Department rules for the appointment of a special prosecutor since the department would once again be responsible for overseeing such investigations.

    There was one hypothetical to worry about once the Independent Counsel Act lapsed: a case in which the attorney general herself and her deputy were suspected of possible misconduct. The rules were therefore written to vest the decision about whether to appoint a special prosecutor in the top Justice Department official not embroiled in the controversy.

    Today, the only way to get to the bottom of the United States attorney scandal – which involved the administration’s firing of nearly 10 percent of America’s top prosecutors – is to use these rules and appoint a special prosecutor. The nightmare has now come true.

    The special counsel regulations are not written with the presumption that someone is guilty, but create a process by which a case is evaluated fairly by a prosecutor. Bringing in a lawyer from outside the government ensures that the prosecutor harbors no desire to please his superiors.

    Using a special counsel here would have a critical advantage apart from assuring the nation of an independent investigation. A special counsel would almost certainly gather more information than Congress. The federal courts are not as reluctant to pierce executive secrecy and privilege claims when they are facing requests by prosecutors (as Richard Nixon found out the hard way). Congress, by contrast, would have a difficult time obtaining internal White House testimony, records and e-mail messages.

    There is also a practical law-enforcement advantage. Right now, no witness with information about wrongdoing wants to tell his entire story for fear of incriminating himself. Congress can grant immunity to a witness but is unlikely to do so and risk interfering with a potential criminal investigation. At present, players with information have no incentive to “flip” and give all of their evidence. The appointment of a prosecutor gives them someone to deal with.

    …(The fact is, though, that because a special counsel would investigate only criminal wrongdoing in the United States attorney scandal, appointing one would give Congress more time to focus on these other matters.)

    The administration, of course, has everything to fear from independent investigations, as Lewis Libby discovered. But that, ultimately, is what our system is about. Last week, President Bush complained that his administration should not have to endure a “show trial” in Congress. There’s a way to make sure those words are never said again.

    i quoted more liberally than perhaps i should, bu there is more at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03

    this has been diaried at dkos – just the announcement.  if someone wants to take it further, please do.  i don’t think i will have time to do it.

    • sharon on January 19, 2009 at 4:00 am

    and what significance it has for proceeding with prosecution.  it is better than i thought.

    The office of solicitor general is the WH “litigation lawyer” before supremes and federal courts. The SG determines what cases will be filed and the government’s position, and thus is real key to the substantive development of law. One key issue debated over the years is should the SG be an independent advocate that upholds the rule of law or a partisan advocate that pushes WH policy through the courts.

    So, these folks are real important in terms of ALL our legal rights, women’s rights etc because they also decide when to seek intervention in state cases on important issues, like death penalty.  

    The SG also represents the Justice Dept. , executive branch and entire fed gov, including Congress.

    So, when it comes to issues of should bush be prosecuted, the WH and Justice better be seeking advice from SG or deputy SG. It would be like you seeking advice from your private lawyer before proceeding with a transaction to find out what law governs the transaction, what steps to take to comply with law, etc. so you can avoid litigation down the road.

    I guess the best way to describe the importance is that for every legal issue, you can find case law to support both sides of the issue. One side is usually more compelling. But, given that the SG obama picked, she does advocate for rule of law, and so does this man, looks good for rule of law for both WH and Congress.

    • Edger on January 19, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Two days away from his swearing in, President-elect Obama addressed the nation at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon:

    He’s going to have to earn it, and he hasn’t done that yet, but I want to believe this guy. We’ll see how it goes…

    Transcript here…

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