President-elect Barack Obama has picked Jeh Charles Johnson, a Montclair attorney, top serve as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense. Johnson served in the Clinton administration as general counsel for the Department of the Air Force, and is now a partner at of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a New York law firm. He served as special counsel to the John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Two years ago, the bi-partisan bipartisan New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination nominated Johnson to be Chief Judge of New York, but then-Gov. Elliot Spitzer instead renominated Justice Judith Kaye.
Johnson becomes the second ranking New Jerseyan in the Obama administration so far; Lisa Jackson, Gov. Jon Corzine’s former Chief of Staff, has been nominated to serve as EPA Director.