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On September 12 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jeff Bleich to be Ambassador to Australia. The official bio released by the WH is below:
Jeff Bleich is the Special Counsel to the President at the White House. From 1995 to 2009 he was a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where he was recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers. Outside of his legal practice, Mr. Bleich has a long-standing commitment to international law. After clerking for Judge Howard Holtzmann at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and acting as Special Rapporteur to the International Court of Arbitration, he assisted the Special Prosecutor for the International Tribunal for the Former-Yugoslavia.
He has taught international human rights at UC Berkeley’s School of Law, and written and lectured extensively on the international criminal court. More recently, Mr. Bleich represented the ABA before the United States Supreme Court in several matters including the Medellin case concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights. He recently chaired both the ABA’s Amicus Curiae Committee and the subcommittee on Corporate Social Responsibility. Mr. Bleich served as an officer or member in numerous foreign policy organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the ABA Section on International Law, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the International Law Association, the American Society of International Law, and Human Rights Watch. In 2008, he served simultaneously as the Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and as the President of the State Bar of California.
Mr. Bleich received his B.A. from Amherst College, his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He received his certificate in Public International Law from the Hague Academy in 1993. Following graduation from law school, he clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court as well as Judge Abner J. Mikva of the D.C. Circuit.
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Opensecrets.org has identified Mr. Bleich as one of President Obama’s bundlers raising a minimum of $500,000 during the campaign.
If confirmed Mr. Bleich would replaced another non-career appointee in Canberra, Robert D. McCallum who was appointed Ambassador to Australia during George W. Bush’s second term. Seventeen political appointees and seven career diplomats had previously been appointed ambassador to the US Mission in Australia.
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 9/11/09