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Douglas Letter, Head of Justice Department’s Civil Appeals, to Join Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection

January 3, 2018 —

WASHINGTON (Jan. 3, 2018) – After four decades of service at the U.S. Department of Justice, Douglas Letter, director of the Civil Division’s appellate staff, will leave government to join Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) early next month.

Letter will serve as senior litigator from practice at ICAP, which has both spearheaded and supported a variety of high-impact litigation since its launch in August.

“We are very excited to welcome Doug to an ICAP leadership team rich in high-level government experience,” said Georgetown Law Visiting Professor Joshua Geltzer, ICAP’s executive director. “Doug will instantly bolster ICAP’s mission to use the power of the courts to uphold constitutional rights and values."

Letter will also serve as visiting professor at Georgetown Law, where students have the opportunity to participate in ICAP’s litigation and other strategic legal advocacy efforts.  To date, these have included filing suit on behalf of the City of Charlottesville against militia and white nationalist groups that engaged in illegal paramilitary activities at last summer’s deadly rally there, as well as challenging practices such as state anti-sanctuary city policies and money bail systems that result in the detention of thousands of poor defendants solely because of their inability to pay.

At ICAP, Letter will hold the same titles as former Justice Department colleague Mary McCord, who previously served as acting assistant attorney general and principal deputy assistant attorney general for national security. ICAP’s executive director Joshua Geltzer also held high-level national security positions at the Justice Department and White House, while ICAP’s faculty chair, Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal, previously served as acting solicitor general and is currently litigating the State of Hawaii’s challenge to the Trump administration’s travel ban, although not under the auspices of ICAP.

Letter joined the Justice Department in 1978 and served most of the last 40 years there, leaving only to serve on detail in the White House from 1994 to 1995 as associate counsel to President Clinton.  

He has argued cases on behalf of the United States before the Supreme Court and each of the United States Courts of Appeals and represented the United States in a variety of significant matters. His areas of expertise include national security, presidential authority and constitutional separation of powers, First Amendment speech, foreign governments in U.S. courts, civil and criminal enforcement of consumer protection laws, and the False Claims Act.

“I’m delighted that Doug will be joining ICAP’s growing all-star team,” Geltzer said. “Doug is, simply put, one of the finest litigators around. Like many of us involved with ICAP, he’ll bring his experience in government to the critical mission of defending our constitutional way of life through strategic litigation. Our whole ICAP team, as well as the Georgetown students who’ll get to learn from him, will benefit from the incredible talent and vision that Doug will bring to the Georgetown Law Center campus and to ICAP’s work.”

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