Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018 - Evening Program
Picking for Keeps: Shaping the Future, One Justice at a Time
Ronald A. Klain P'20

The process of selecting and confirming life-tenured Supreme Court justices—and other federal judges—can shape our laws and society for decades. Long after a President is gone, the individuals appointed to the federal bench are still determining life and society altering matters with wide-ranging implications. How does a President decide whom to entrust with this power? How should the Senate exercise its role providing its “advice and consent” to these selections? Ronald A. Klain P’20, a veteran of the selection and confirmation of eight Supreme Court justices, discusses these questions and his ideas for reform of the contentious and consequential process.

Ronald Klain has devoted many years to public service, most recently as White House Ebola Response Coordinator (2014-15). Earlier, Klain served as a senior White House aide to President Obama responsible for implementing the Recovery Act, and as chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011. He has also served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, staff director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee, and chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Klain was also associate counsel to President Clinton in charge of judicial selection.Through his work on the Judiciary Committee and in the Executive Branch, Klain has played a role in the selection or confirmation of eight Supreme Court Justices. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Byron White, for the Supreme Court’s 1987 and 1988 terms.

Klain gained national notice as general counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000, in recognition of which he was selected as one of National Law Journal's "Lawyers of the Year," and featured in HBO's film "RECOUNT."  He has worked on seven presidential campaigns, serving as a top debate preparation advisor to Presidents Obama and Clinton, and Democratic Presidential nominees Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. 

Klain now serves as executive vice president and general counsel of Revolution LLC, an investment firm launched by AOL Co-Founder Steve Case in 2005. Prior to joining Revolution, Klain spent four years as a partner and National Practice Group Chair at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where his practice focused on constitutional and commercial litigation, competition-related litigation in the technology sector, redistricting and election law, and corporate transactions.

Klain is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, won the Sears Prize for highest grade average in 1985, and serves as al lecturer in law. He was a summa cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, where has served since 2011 as an adjunct professor.         

Mr. Klain is the featured speaker for CMC’s 2018 Family Weekend.

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