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By Lori Atherton
March 4, 2015
Benjamin C. Mizer—a 2002 University of Michigan Law School graduate—has been named the principal deputy assistant attorney general and acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Division. He was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder on March 2.
"I am humbled by the trust and confidence the attorney general has placed in me to lead the largest litigating division within the Justice Department," Mizer said. "It is a great honor to be joining the division. I'm excited to work alongside many of the country's best lawyers on the hardest legal issues facing the United States."
Mizer will oversee the Civil Division in representing a wide array of civil litigation, including challenges to congressional statutes, administration policies, and federal agency actions as well as federal benefit programs; commercial disputes including contract disputes, banking, insurance, patents, and debt collection; international trade matters; and enforcement of immigration laws.
Michigan Law Professor Julian Mortenson, who previously worked with Mizer, said the DOJ is "incredibly lucky to have him" on its staff. The two clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justices at the same time—Mizer for Justice John Paul Stevens and Mortenson for Justice David H. Souter. In addition, they served as associate legal officers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague and as associates in the Washington, D.C., office of WilmerHale.
"Ben is an extraordinary lawyer, with a seamless combination of analytical talent, keen judgment, personal sensitivity, and deep integrity that is unique among the lawyers I have worked with," Mortenson said. "Every time I've been privileged enough to work with him as a colleague, I've turned to him on countless occasions for advice and wisdom. His exceptional ability to blend fine-grained legal analysis at the most minute level of detail with a broad architectural sense for the sweep of the legal landscape makes him a perfect choice for this extremely important job. This is an exciting and rare opportunity for him to pursue his longstanding commitment to public service at a level of responsibility that very few lawyers ever have a chance to assume."
Mizer joined the DOJ as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel. Before being named acting assistant attorney general, he served as counselor to the attorney general, providing advice on a wide range of matters including civil litigation, civil rights, and national security. He was presented the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service—the DOJ's highest award–in October 2014 for his work on United States v. Windsor, the decision that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Mizer was the solicitor general of Ohio. He also clerked for the Hon. Judith W. Rogers of the D.C. Circuit.
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