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Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Testifies Before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary


United States

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.

 There is, I am convinced, no higher honor nor greater privilege than to serve one’s fellow citizens.  Four years ago, this Committee endorsed and the Senate confirmed my nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  Today, I am grateful to the President and to the Attorney General for giving me the opportunity to continue my public service as the nominee for Acting Associate Attorney General, the Department’s third-ranking official.

 With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce briefly my family, without whom and God’s grace, I would not be here today.

 First, my law school classmate, my best friend, and the love of my life, my wife, Maya Harris.  An extraordinary woman of accomplishment in law, public policy and philanthropy, Maya has been as much my teacher as she has been my partner, and every day she is in my life is a blessing.

 Our daughter, Meena, of whom we are both ridiculously but deservedly proud: an amazing young woman who graduated from Harvard Law School last spring and is now clerking on the DC Court of Appeals.  

 My sister-in-law, Kamala, who herself sets a remarkably high standard for effective, admirable public service – I’m so grateful for her support every day.

 And of course, my mother, Peggy, whose example of strength, compassion and integrity I strive to follow in my own life.

 There are four people who could not be here today:  My two younger sisters, Pamela and Patricia, whose love keeps me grounded as only siblings can; my mother-in-law, Dr. Shyamala Harris, a brilliant cancer scientist who passed away weeks before my last confirmation hearing and whose spirit I’ve carried with me every day since; and my father, Franklin, who lost his own courageous battle with cancer just eight weeks ago.  My father was born dirt poor, to a family of sharecroppers in the segregated Deep South.  The first in his family to attend college, he instilled in me, his only son, a deep love for this country, an abiding faith in her values and an unbridled optimism in her possibilities. His presence fills my heart today.

 Mr. Chairman, if confirmed, I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the Department’s singular mission:  to pursue justice on behalf of the American people.  I will always strive to ensure that the Department’s work is characterized by professionalism, independence, fairness and nonpartisanship, whether it is through our efforts to protect our national security; or recover taxpayer dollars lost to fraud, waste and abuse; or fairly and effectively enforce our civil rights laws. 

 And if confirmed, Mr. Chairman, I will continue to seek opportunities to build on my working relationship with this Committee and others in Congress.  I thank you again for considering my nomination, and I am pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Updated September 17, 2014