President George W. Bush on Thursday sent his nomination of Professor Michael O'Neill to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia to the Senate for confirmation.
O'Neill is former Senate Judiciary Committee Chief Counsel, Staff Director, and aide to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He served from 1999 to 2005 as a Commissioner of the United States Sentencing Commission. O'Neill's history of government service also includes having been a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and an appellate litigator in the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Appellate Section.
O'Neill joined the faculty of Mason Law in 1998 after having taught there as an adjunct professor and took a leave of absence to serve the Judiciary Committee, returning to the classroom in fall 2007. During his time with the Judiciary Committee, O'Neill was involved in the confirmation processes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, as well as those of Attorneys General Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, and counseled the committee on important pending legislation.
Specter said of O'Neill in a press release, "Mike is an exceptional nominee and one of the most talented lawyers I have known. He possesses a virtually encyclopedic knowledge of the law, especially constitutional law. He ably managed one of the most important and busiest Committees in the Senate as we tackled the leading issues of the day, and demonstrated unfailing fairness to both sides of the aisle. Mike will be a superior addition to the federal bench."
O'Neill is an honors graduate of Brigham Young University and received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was editor of articles and book reviews for the Yale Law Journal and articles editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge David B. Sentelle, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As an academic, O'Neill specializes in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law.
Todd Zywicki writes:
Michael is a man of impeccable honor and good judgment and would make a superb judge. It may be that there is too little time for him to get through before the elections this fall, which would be a shame for the country if he doesn't get confirmed.
Congratulations to Professor O'Neill!