On September 15, the White House announced that President Obama’s nomination of Charlotte A. Burrows to the post of Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had been sent to the U.S. Senate. The announcement came just a few days after President Obama expressed his intent to nominate several individuals, including Burrows, to key posts in the current administration. According to a White House press release, President Obama nominated Burrows, who is the current Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to the Commission for a term expiring on July 1, 2019.

Before starting in her current position in 2009, Burrows served as General Counsel for Civil and Constitutional Rights to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, in addition to serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 2003 to 2007, Burrows served as Legal Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1998 to 2003, she held several positions in the Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation Section at the DOJ—first as Trial Attorney, then as Special Litigation Counsel, and later as Deputy Chief. Burrows started her legal career as a law firm associate in 1997 after which she served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the White House statement, President Obama sated, “I am proud to nominate such impressive men and women to these important roles, and I am grateful they have agreed to lend their considerable talents to this Administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Harold P. Coxson, a principal with Ogletree Governmental Affairs, Inc. and a shareholder in the Washington, D.C. office of Ogletree Deakins, commented on the presidential nomination, predicting that Burrows’s nomination would face little difficulty in receiving confirmation, given that the U.S. Senate’s “nuclear option,” eliminated filibusters of Executive Branch nominations. “As an experienced employment litigator, starting as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation Section, Burrows should bring some order to the Commission, which in recent years has been frequently criticized in the courts and by Congress for ignoring statutory requirements for litigation of actions brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first test will come next term when the Supreme Court of the United States decides whether and to what extent a court may enforce the EEOC’s mandatory obligation to conciliate discrimination claims prior to filing suit.”


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