Thank you, Tom [Perrelli]. It is a privilege to join you in welcoming so many colleagues and distinguished guests to this long-awaited ceremony. Thank you all for being here as we celebrate the latest achievement in Jim Cole’s extraordinary career, and mark his official swearing-in as our nation’s Deputy Attorney General.
I’m especially pleased that Jim’s wife, Susan; their son, Jackson; and their daughter, Amanda – as well as many other proud family members and friends – are with us today. I also want to thank Judge [Robert] Richter for being here to administer the Oath of Office. And I’d like to extend a special thanks to Chairman Leahy for his support of Jim – and of this Department.
Since President Obama first nominated Jim to the position of Deputy Attorney General last year, Chairman Leahy – and many of his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee – have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Justice Department has the strong, stable leadership that today’s challenges demand – and that the American people deserve. As they built support for Jim’s confirmation, they raised awareness about the fact that, since Jim assumed the role of DAG at the beginning of this year, he hit the ground running – and has proven to be an extraordinary and indispensible member of the Department’s senior leadership team.
Over the last seven months, the entire Department has seen something that I’ve known for decades – that Jim is an extremely talented attorney, as well as a consummate professional.
More than 30 years ago – before Jim had proven his talents as a prosecutor, withstood the rigors of service on Capitol Hill, or distinguished himself in private practice – he began his career as a line attorney in the Department’s Public Integrity Section, where I had the pleasure of working alongside him.
It was immediately clear to me – and to our coworkers – that Jim was someone to watch. Someone whose career would be defined by the intelligence, passion, and steadfast dedication – to the law, and to those it protects and empowers – that have always been the hallmark of this Department’s finest leaders.
Back then – and still today – I admired his work ethic. I counted on his sound judgment. And I thought then, and now as well, that he had especially good taste in facial hair. You all might also want to ask him about the nickname he had back when we were line guys at the Public Integrity Section.
Of course, many things have changed over the last three decades. The size of this Department has grown considerably, and the challenges before us have broadened and evolved. But Jim’s integrity, professionalism, and unwavering commitment to public service have remained constant. And I have every confidence that his expertise – and his vast experience in both the public and private sector – will help the Department move forward in fulfilling its most urgent responsibilities.
Already, Jim has taken aggressive steps to advance the Department’s top priorities. In particular, he has strengthened efforts to combat child exploitation, to formulate – and implement – sound and effective reentry policies, and to take our nation’s fight against cybercrime to the next level.
At every turn, he has led, not only with decisive action, but by quiet example. And – with the energy and enthusiasm he brings to his work – he’s even managed to make one of the most challenging jobs in this government look like it’s a lot of fun- most of the time.
As a former Deputy Attorney General, I know how demanding – and exhausting – his job can be. And, Jim, I understand the sacrifices that you – and your family – will be asked to make in the service of your country. But, as Attorney General, I’ve seen just how invaluable you are – and I have great faith in what you will help to accomplish in the critical days ahead.
Of course, I’m not alone. President Obama shares my confidence in your skills as an attorney – and your abilities as a leader. On his behalf, and on behalf of the entire administration, it is my privilege to welcome you back to the Department.
Mr. Deputy Attorney General, I am honored to stand with you today, not only as your colleague, but also as your friend – as we celebrate the extraordinary contributions that, already, have characterized your tenure in this challenging role; and as we look forward to the achievements that will undoubtedly define your service in the months and years to come.
And, now, I’d like to turn things over to another good friend and critical partner – the distinguished Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator [Patrick] Leahy.
Throughout his career, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, Chairman Leahy has always been a staunch supporter of the Justice Department – and those who serve it. In the face of growing demands and limited budgets, he has led the fight to ensure that law enforcement officers have the tools and resources they need to protect the American people, and that this Department has the capacity – as well as the stability – to fulfill its core missions. His leadership was instrumental in bringing us to this moment; and, once again, I want to thank him for his work to ensure the confirmation of our new Deputy Attorney General.
Please join me in welcoming Chairman Leahy.