On November 4th, District residents will vote for their first elected Attorney General. The election is especially important because the person chosen will set the standard for future candidates, and the success of the concept of an elected Attorney General may well depend on how well the winner performs in office.
A diverse group of lawyers and non-lawyers from government, academia, nonprofits, and private practice (listed below) met with all five candidates, extensively questioned them, agreed upon the most important qualities needed, and discussed the pros and cons of each. The District is fortunate to have a diverse slate of candidates for this critical election, but in our opinion, only a small subset of the candidates possess the requisite combination of broad legal experience and leadership acumen to effectively serve. Through this process, we came to a consensus that Karl Racine was the best candidate for the position. Here's why.
The Attorney General must first and foremost be an outstanding lawyer. With a staff of over 500, the Attorney General must be an effective manager of people and of large, important, and often controversial lawsuits. Unlike other elected officials in the District Government, the Attorney General is not primarily a maker of policy, but is the legal arbitrator for those who do make policy - the Mayor, the Council, and the Chief Financial Officer. He or she must command their respect as a person who gives sound and practical legal advice and who appreciates the independent roles that they all have. It is also essential that the Attorney General shares the values of our community and seeks to advance them through the law.
Karl Racine meets these high standards. He has a long and varied experience as an attorney. He has gone to court as a public defender and in private practice, served in the White House Counsel's office, and managed a major law firm. He has demonstrated his ability to work with all branches of government, to handle complex investigations, and to navigate the small "p" politics of picking judges and of managing the often high-ego demands of law firm partners. He has shown his ability to defuse disagreements between political and institutional actors before they turn into open and hostile conflict. He was raised in the District and cares deeply for its residents; he will ensure that the Attorney General is a champion for District's most vulnerable residents, who depend upon the Attorney General to be their advocate. Had we been in a position to appoint an Attorney General for the District, each of us would have been pleased and proud to select Karl Racine, and we urge District voters to select him on Election Day.
Corey Barnette ~ Leila Batties ~ Maybelle Turner Bennett ~ HyeSook Chung ~ Seema Gajwani ~ Marie Johns ~ Robert Mallett ~ Emeka Moneme ~ Alan Morrison ~ Lois Schiffer ~ Linda Singer
Sunday, November 2, 2014
From an email: