By a party-line 52-45 vote, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Jeffrey Rosen to be deputy attorney general. He will replace Rod Rosenstein, the longtime Department of Justice official who became target of both Republicans’ and Democrats’ ire for his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Rosenstein left the Department last week, departing on his own terms after months during which it seemed to appear President Trump could oust him at any moment.
Unlike Rosenstein, Rosen is not an alum of the Justice Department. He served as general counsel at the Department of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration and also worked for the Office of Management of Budget. In the Trump administration, he has served as the deputy secretary of Transportation.
When not in government, he worked alongside Attorney General Bill Barr at the powerhouse law firm Kirkland and Ellis.
Before Rosenstein’s tenure as deputy attorney general, the lawyer occupying the No. 2 DOJ role was not typically a household name. The position is usually described as an operational one, overseeing the day-to-day functions of the sprawling Department of Justice.
Rosenstein himself joked last week that his daughter has repeatedly reminded him that he was wrong when he told her “that Deputy AG is a low-profile job.”
It remains to be seen whether Rosen will be able to fly more under the radar than his predecessor. Unlike Rosenstein, he is not poised to be put in charge of any investigation as politically explosive as Mueller’s. Rosen, however, already has attracted some scrutiny for his refusal at his confirmation hearing to say whether he supported the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional.