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That's a key administrative post?

From the White House, a news release, "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 4/5/11":

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration posts:

Michael Les Benedict, Appointee for Member, Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise
Michael Les Benedict is a leading scholar of American constitutional history and the Civil War and Reconstruction. He is the author of The Blessings of Liberty, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson, and Preserving the Constitution, a selection of essays on the constitutional politics of Reconstruction. Professor Benedict also wrote the American Historical Association’s American Constitution bicentennial essay “Civil Rights and Liberties.” He is emeritus professor of history at The Ohio State University, where he was also an adjunct professor of law, and he has held visiting professorships at Yale Law School and on the law faculties of Hokkaido and Doshisha Universities in Japan. Professor Benedict has served on the board of directors of the American Society for Legal History and is currently Parliamentarian of the American Historical Association. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from Rice University.

This is undoubtedly familiar territory to the legal scholars among POL's readership, but I had no idea such a creature as a "devise" existed. The University of Colorado at Boulder explained the government body in 2002, when President George W. Bush appointed law school professor Allison H. Eid to the board: "Established by Congress in 1955 to administer the funds given to the government by the late Justice Holmes, the Permanent Committee prepares the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and sponsors the annual Oliver Wendell Holmes Lecture."

We've always wondered why all the White House news releases about run-of-the-mill appointments are headlined, "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts." The White House a broad definition of "key." The same release announcing Benedict's appointment also listed:

  • D. Brent Hardt, Ambassador to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Department of State
  • Donald W. Koran, Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda, Department of State
  • Geeta Pasi, Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, Department of State



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.