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Peter D. Keisler

Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

  • Peter Keisler, the former Acting Attorney General of the United States, is a well-respected attorney who possesses extensive trial and appellate litigation experience in a broad range of issues. Mr. Keisler has argued before the Supreme Court and numerous federal courts of appeal.
    • Mr. Keisler has been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which hears appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and reviews numerous decisions made by federal administrative agencies.
  • Mr. Keisler has a distinguished record as a practicing attorney in the public and private sectors.
    • In September 2007, the President selected Mr. Keisler as the Acting Attorney General of the United States—the chief law enforcement officer in the country. In that capacity, Mr. Keisler directed the work of the Department of Justice, including its component agencies: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service. Mr. Keisler was also responsible for the work of the litigating divisions of the Department, as well as the grantmaking components.
    • In 2003, Mr. Keisler was confirmed as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the Department of Justice. Since then he has been responsible for the work of the Justice Department’s largest litigating division, consisting of approximately 700 attorneys who represent the United States in federal and state courts throughout the country. In this capacity, Mr. Keisler has personally argued numerous cases in federal courts on behalf of the United States.
    • The cases handled by the Civil Division involve issues of constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and common law, including matters of tort law, contract law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, immigration, foreign law, civil fraud enforcement and civil and criminal enforcement of consumer protection laws.
  • From 2002 to 2003, Mr. Keisler served at the Department of Justice as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, and for six months during that period as Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position in the Department.
    • In that capacity, Mr. Keisler assisted in managing the Department’s civil litigating components (Antitrust, Civil, Civil Rights, Environment and Natural Resources, and Tax), as well as assisting in the development and implementation of a wide variety of civil justice initiatives and policies.
  • From 1989 until 2002, Mr. Keisler was first an associate (1989-1993), and then a partner (1993-2002), at the Washington D.C. office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. While in private practice he successfully argued cases at every level of the federal court system, including the U.S. Supreme Court. His area of specialty included regulatory appeals before the D.C. Circuit, the court to which he is nominated, where he argued numerous times.
    • From 1986 to 1988, Mr. Keisler served as an Assistant Counsel and later Associate Counsel in the Office of the Counsel to the President in the White House.
  • Mr. Keisler has impeccable academic credentials and professional training.
    • Mr. Keisler served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court and to Judge Robert Bork of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
    • He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1985, where he was an officer of the Yale Law Journal.
    • He attended Yale College and graduated magna cum laude in 1981 with a B.A. in Political Science.
  • Mr. Keisler has used his legal skills to assist clients on a pro bono and reduced fee basis.
    • While in private practice, Mr. Keisler successfully represented Dr. Elhadi Omer Abd Elhalim, who helped expose the mistreatment of political prisoners at a Sudanese prison, in seeking political asylum in the United States.