William & Mary grad among Biden’s nominations for U.S. attorneys in Virginia

Virginia

WASHINGTON (WRIC) — President Joe Biden announced his nominations to serve as U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia on Tuesday.

William & Mary Law School grad Jessica D. Aber (’06) was named as Biden’s pick for the role in the Eastern District, which has offices in Alexandria, Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond. She currently works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), where she has served since 2009. William & Mary grad George Zachary Terwilliger (’07) was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District from 2018 to 2021.

According to a release, Aber has been the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the office since 2016. From 2015 to 2016, she served on a detail assignment as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Prior to joining the DOJ, Aber was an associate at McGuire Woods LLP from 2007 to 2008.

Aber attended the University of Richmond for undergraduate studies, and earned her J.D. from William & Mary Law School in 2006.

For the U.S. Attorney role in the Western District of Virginia, Biden nominated Christopher R. Kavanaugh. He is Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ in Washington, D.C. According to a release, Kavanaugh is currently on detail from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, where he has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney since 2014.

“In his role as Assistant United State Attorney, Mr. Kavanaugh is the chief national security prosecutor, senior litigation counsel, and counsel to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia,” the announcement said.

From 2007 to 2014, according to a release, Kavanaugh was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Since 2011, he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School, where he teaches federal criminal practice and trial advocacy. Additionally, Kavanaugh served as a law clerk for Judge James C. Cacheris on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2006 to 2007.

Both Aber and Kavanaugh were recommended as candidates for these respective vacancies by Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) in a letter sent to the White House in March.

Raj Parekh has served as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia since G. Zachary Terwilliger stepped down in January. The office told 8News at the time that Parekh did not apply for the politically-appointed U.S. Attorney position and intends to continue his work in the EDVA after a nominee for the role is announced and confirmed.

On Tuesday, President Biden also announced nominees to serve as U.S. Attorneys in six other jurisdictions, who would be responsible for upholding the rule of law as the top federal law enforcement officials for their districts.

  • Carla B. Freedman, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Northern District of New York
  • William J. Ihlenfeld, II, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Northern District of West Virginia
  • Darcie N. McElwee, U.S. Attorney nominee for the District of Maine
  • Breon S. Peace, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Eastern District of New York
  • William S. Thompson, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Southern District of West Virginia
  • Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney nominee for the Southern District of New York

“These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice,” the announcement said.

It is the job of the White House to nominate one individual for each vacancy to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nominations are subject to confirmation by the full Senate.

According to a release, confirming U.S. Attorneys as the chief federal law enforcement officers in their district is part of Biden’s efforts to take on the uptick in gun crime that has been taking place over the last 18 months.

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