Senate confirms Oaklander to Justice Dept. post

The U.S. Senate today voted 82-4 to confirm Oakland attorney Tony West as Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division, which represents the United States, its departments and agencies, members of Congress, Cabinet officers and other federal employees in a wide range of litigation.

West — most recently a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, and formerly a Clinton Administration Justice Department official; a federal prosecutor; and a special assistant California Attorney General tasked with troubleshooting difficult issues — is expected to be sworn in at the end of this week. Long a Democratic Party activist, he was California finance co-chairman for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The confirmation comes as little surprise; his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing last month went off without a hitch, and he tends to get rave reviews from those who know him.

UPDATE @ 4:03 P.M. — “I’m looking forward to this new role and the challenges that lie ahead,” West wrote in an e-mail sent out to friends and associates this afternoon, offering his thanks for their backing. “Your kind notes, words of encouragement and friendship were a great source of support during the confirmation process.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.