Preeta Bansal for Solicitor General?

To follow-up on Taz’s post earlier this week, several new sources including New York Magazine are reporting that President-elect Obama will soon tap Preeta Bansal as the United States Solicitor General:

Preeta Bansal, a Harvard-educated litigation partner at Skadden, is rumored to be President-elect Obama’s choice for solicitor general. That person argues the government’s position at the Supreme Court (which will still be dominated by conservatives). “It’s making the rounds in New York’s legal circles, absolutely,” says a former colleague of Bansal’s. She was New York’s solicitor general under Eliot Spitzer and a counselor to then–assistant attorney general Joel Klein in the Clinton administration; she was an adviser to Obama’s campaign and now serves on the transition team. She’d be the first woman and first Indian-American to hold the job. [Link]


p> Ravi and I wanted to interview Preeta at the DNC in Denver but we weren’t allowed to. There were certain folks who you could only interview with permission from Obama’s people. That’s how you knew they were likely to get a top spot in a possible future administration (or be a top bundler). If this turns out to be Obama’s pick it also will serve as a major nod to his Asian American supporters. We’ll then see if Bansal has what it takes to go ten rounds with the likes of Scalia and Roberts.

What I also want to know though is, what about Neal Katyal? Obama has said that shutting down the blight that is Guantanamo Bay is one of his top priorities. Why not give Katyal a leadership role in a possible commission to shut it down? From a recent PBS interview:

JEFFREY BROWN: Well, President-elect Obama, as we said, has said he will shut it down. Should he stick to the promise? And can he? What are the issues there?

NEAL KATYAL: Right. He should absolutely stick to the promise. I mean, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the defense secretary, Robert Gates, have both said that Guantanamo is now a net national security loss for the United States. So there’s a security reason to do it above and beyond the simple humanitarian one. [Link]

Oh hell, I’ll just come out and say what I’m really advocating for: Katyal for SCOTUS.

17 thoughts on “Preeta Bansal for Solicitor General?

  1. Yes, definitely shut down Guantanamo Bay, it seems to contradict everything America says it stands for. Bansal seems great- definitely an overachiever.

  2. I saw that same interview and found Katyal’s comments about Gitmo to be lacking; to be measured, at best. A “net national security loss”? I suppose, aside from its illegality and its inhumanity, this idea of “net national security loss” is a nod to torture supporters, a phrasing to bring Rumsfeldians over to the other side. But if you want him to take on a higher position in the administration, I’d prefer someone more vociferous in their opposition to this prison and all it stands for. Maybe he has been and I’m just ignorant of it, but despite his lawyering of a detainee, I found him to be lightweight; not a serious counterbalance to the Heritage Foundation guy sitting next to him.

  3. A “net national security loss”? I suppose, aside from its illegality and its inhumanity, this idea of “net national security loss” is a nod to torture supporters

    He did bring up humanitarian concerns in the interview. I think you are alone in calling him a lightweight, he is held in high esteem by his peers across the political spectrum. Katyal is great, someone with somewhat of a conservative background who believes that the law should work for everyone (no matter how repugnant their views). Unlike the counsel from progressive groups that want us to believe that anyone detained by the US is the salt of the earth

  4. so far i’m thrilled with obama’s pics, especially gates, clinton, and summers. scotus worries me though, since this law is one area progressives have made large gains, presumably b/c they haven’t been subject to plebiscite.

  5. 4 · Manju said

    scotus worries me though, since this law is one area progressives have made large gains

    thank goodness rush limbaugh is commenting on this site.

  6. That would be really cool to have an Asian/Indian in a top position like Solicitor General. Bansal is apparently a ball-buster from what I’ve seen. After SG she’d probably be at least in the running for Supreme Court since Obama apparently wants to pick a woman with his first pick.

  7. Obama said “captains of industry” on Wall Street and in Detroit who took advantage of corporate[url=]wow gold[/url] perks while their companies benefited from government loans paid for with taxpayers’ money, don’t have “any perspective on what’s happening to ordinary Americans.”

  8. I saw that same interview and found Katyal’s comments about Gitmo to be lacking; to be measured, at best.

    He is a lawyer, after all, and adept at saying what needs to be said in a way that doesn’t ruffle feathers. Hamdan V. Rumsfeld is the definitive case against the Bush Administration’s Guantanamo policy and Katyal’s actions on Hamdan’s defense team speak much louder than words in this area. If you want a firebrand, Samantha Power is your gal – but unfortunately there is minimal chance she’s going to get an appointment after her comments in the primary.

  9. As a technocrat, I love Bansal. This admin may set a record for harvard law magna cum laude’s in top posts (Biden’s chief of staff is one too). I’d actually like a bigger role (in terms of demonstrating and developing her administrative chops) for her than solicitor general, because I think she shows talent to be a great administrator. She’s future presidential material. I’m surprised she’s not qualified at least for Office of the Associate Attorney General (the third highest ranking in the DOJ’s organizational chart):

    She could then move up to Attorney General before the end of two Obama terms (I’m not wild about Holder’s intellectual or ethical credentials for the job).

    Although really I’d like to see her run for Manhattan Borough President as a steppingstone to Mayor of NYC, Governor, and then President. It’s time for our Presidents to get executive experience all the way up, in my opinion.

    -Hopefully Anonymous

  10. Also, when it comes to desi overachievers, keep your eyes on Ameek Ashok Ponda. Another great technocrat and harvard law magna cum laude, although he’s stayed very private sector. He’s someone else that could start out as an undersecretary in DOJ, Commerce, or elsewhere and end up in the Cabinet by the end of the Obama administration 8 years from now. Although of course I’d like to see him go the boston mayor –> massachussetts governor —> U.S. president route. He and Obama seem to be about the same age and may have known each other at harvard law. Interesting how their careers diverged afterwards: almost emblematic of the irrational phobia by highly qualified desi americans towards running for high political office.

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