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Former Top Clinton Counsel, Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Blackmun, and Justice Department Lawyer Paul Oetken Has The Prestigious Legal Record To Make A Fine Judge

Schumer: Oetken Is A First-Rate Lawyer Who Will Make A Great Judge

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced that J. Paul Oetken, whom Schumer recommended to President Obama in September, has been officially nominated by the President to serve as a judge in the prestigious Southern District federal court.

“I am pleased that the President has nominated Paul to serve as a federal judge from New York on the Southern District bench,” said Schumer. “With his sterling legal credentials and distinguished career in private practice and public service, J. Paul Oetken has the right combination of skills, experience and dedication to make an excellent judge on the court. He has a world-class legal mind and will be a tremendous asset to the bench. My three criteria for judges are simple: excellence, diversity, and moderation and Mr. Oetken fits that description to a ‘T.’”

Paul Oetken is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Yale Law School. After clerkships on the U.S. Court of Appeal and U.S. District court for the District of Columbia, Oetken clerked for Justice Blackmun of the US Supreme Court. Following a brief stint at Jenner & Block, Oetken moved to the Justice Department, where he served as legal advisor to cabinet agencies and the White House. He was Associate Counsel to the President Clinton from 1999-2001, where he specialized in First Amendment issues, presidential appointments, ethics, civil rights, and legal policy. Since then, he has practiced at Debevoise and Plimpton, and since 2004, he has served as associate General Counsel at Cablevision.

Oetken is also a member of and strong advocate for the LGBT community. In addition to his involvement with Lambda Legal and the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Project, Oetken co-authored a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Lawrence v Texas which struck down a discriminatory law in Texas.


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