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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich Announces Leadership Team in the Office of Legislative Affairs

Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs today announced two new members of the Office’s leadership team. Mark D. Agrast and Judith Appelbaum have been appointed as Deputy Assistant Attorneys General.

Agrast joins the Office as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General handling criminal and national security matters. Appelbaum is the Deputy Assistant Attorney General managing civil and civil rights issues, as well as nominations.

"Mark and Judy round out an outstanding team in the Office of Legislative Affairs," said Weich. "Their deep policy and congressional experience will prove invaluable as we work with Congress to advance the Department of Justice’s legislative initiatives. They bring the vision and intellect to ensure that this Office performs at the highest of levels."

Appelbaum joined the Department from the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, where she served as the Director of Programs since 2006. Previously, she was Vice President and Legal Director at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), where she participated in litigation, advocacy, and public education activities in many areas of NWLC’s work, with a particular focus on civil rights and judicial nominations. Before that, she served as Counsel to Sen. Edward Kennedy on his Judiciary Committee staff and his chief advisor on women’s rights issues. Appelbaum received her B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from Stanford Law School.

Agrast previously served as the Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy and later as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill as Counsel and Legislative Director to Rep. William Delahunt of Massachusetts and as a senior aide to Rep. Gerry Studds, also of Massachusetts. Agrast received his B.A. summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in 1978, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1978 to 1981, and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1985.

The Office of Legislative Affairs is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies to advance the Department’s legislative initiatives and other interests relating to Congress. The Office also articulates the Department’s position on legislation proposed by Congress, facilitates the appearance of Department witnesses at congressional hearings, and manages the interagency clearance process led by Office of Management and Budget. The Office also participates in the Senate confirmation process for federal judges and Department nominees, such as Assistant Attorneys General and U.S. Attorneys. These functions are important to the Department’s cooperative and productive relationship with Congress.

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