January 23, 2009
Daniel J. Meltzer ’75, the Story Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will be appointed Principal Deputy Counsel to the President in the administration of President Barack Obama ’91.
Gregory B. Craig, Counsel to the President, said, “Dan Meltzer is a superb lawyer, a distinguished scholar, and a wise counselor. I am delighted that he is joining the Counsel’s Office as my Principal Deputy.”
The White House Counsel’s Office advises the President on the exercise of presidential powers and actions; defends presidential prerogatives; negotiates on the President’s behalf with a broad range of actors; oversees executive and judicial appointments and nominations; educates and monitors White House staff adherence to federal ethics and records management law; and handles White House, departmental, and agency contacts with the Department of Justice.
Said Meltzer: “I am both honored and excited by the prospect of joining President Obama’s Administration and of working with Greg Craig and other superb lawyers in seeking to provide the best legal advice possible to the Presidency.”
Meltzer, a leading scholar in the fields of federal court jurisdiction and criminal procedure, joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1982 as an Assistant Professor of Law. He gained tenure in 1987, and later served as Associate Dean (1989-93). He was appointed to the Story chair in 1998, and became Vice Dean for Physical Planning in 2003.
Meltzer is the author of numerous scholarly writings and law review articles, including a major one published with HLS Professor Richard Fallon last year on the constitutional rights of detainees in the battle against terror (Fallon, Richard H. & Daniel J. Meltzer. "Habeas Corpus Jurisdiction, Substantive Rights and the War on Terror," 120 Harvard Law Review 2029 (2007). Along with Fallon and HLS Professor David Shapiro, he has been co-editor of the leading casebook on federal courts, Hart & Wechsler's “The Federal Courts and The Federal System” (Foundation Press 5th ed. 2003).
After graduating from Harvard College in 1972, Meltzer attended Harvard Law School, where he became President of the Harvard Law Review and was awarded the Fay Diploma. He served as a law clerk for Judge Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1975-76), and then clerked for Associate Justice Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1976-77 Term. From 1977 to 1978 he was a special assistant to Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare. He then spent three years in private practice as an associate at Williams & Connolly, before joining the HLS faculty in 1982.