Legal Expert Calls on Biden to 'Nominate Obama As Attorney General'

A former professor of constitutional law has called on President-elect Joe Biden to nominate former President Barack Obama to serve as attorney general.

Writing in The Hill newspaper, Douglas Kmiec argued that while Obama leading the Department of Justice would be unprecedented, it would help Biden to show that he's governing "in the national interest."

Kmiec, a professor emeritus of constitutional law at Pepperdine University School of Law, served as head of the Office of Legal counsel under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W Bush.

In his op-ed, Kmiec discussed potential Republican challenges to the ratification of Biden's Electoral College win when Congress meets on January 6.

Several GOP members of the House of Representatives are expected to object to slates of electors, while Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) is perhaps the most high profile Republican to announce his plan to object so far.

Kmiec argues that these objections will mean Biden will want to reassure "estranged voters—Democrat, Republican or independent—that he is governing in the national interest."

"Biden's almost-plagiarized overuse of the red state/blue state metaphor from the 2008 election needs a definite boost of authenticity and actual demonstration of applied fairness," Kmiec writes.

"Instead of continuing to borrow Barack Obama's trade line, he needs Obama himself. The fastest way to re-establish the rule of law is for Biden to nominate Obama as attorney general."

"If Biden simultaneously kept Christopher Wray as head of the FBI and made Justice's current inspector general, Michael Horowitz, head of its Office of Legal Counsel, he would remove much division, doubt and uncertainty," he goes on.

It is not yet clear what Biden's plans are with regards to the Department of Justice, the FBI or the Office of Legal Counsel. While the president-elect has announced other cabinet picks, his decision not to name a choice for attorney general so far has generated much speculation.

Kmiec notes that "[a]ppointing Obama certainly would be unprecedented" as a former president has never gone on to lead a department of the federal government in this way, but Kmiec goes on to say it would be "perfect preparation for subsequent additional public service on the Supreme Court."

President William H. Taft, who served from 1909 to 1913, went on to become chief justice of the Supreme Court after leaving office. A Republican, he's the only recent example of a career path of this kind.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden's transition office have been asked for comment on this article.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama Campaigning
Then Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former U.S. President Barack Obama make a stop at a canvass kickoff event at Birmingham Unitarian Church on October 31, 2020 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. One legal expert thinks Biden should nominate Obama to serve as attorney general. Drew Angerer/Getty Images