President Barack Obama today nominated attorney Kenneth Allen Polite Jr. as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to Senator Mary Landrieu, Polite has the support of many local leaders. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Polite would take over the U.S. Attorney's office that saw the exit of former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and other senior prosecutors over "blog gate."
Polite's confirmation will largely hang on whether fellow Louisiana Senator David Vitter signs off on the nomination. Vitter's office indicates he is inclined to back Polite, with some reservations.
"Ken is a bright young guy, and I wish him all the best in this very challenging time for that office," Vitter said in a statement today. "I remained concerned that that office really needs a more seasoned leader and supervisor to immediately stabilize it after its scandals, and that Ken's focus on street crime will unintentionally take focus away from battling political corruption. I hope his service proves otherwise."
Vitter also noted that civic groups such as the Business Council and the Metropolitan Crime Commission had also "strongly recommended several highly qualified Democrats" such as Bryan Jackson and Pauline Hardin.
The following bio information on Polite was provided by Sen. Landrieu's office:
Throughout his career as a federal prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and corporate litigator, Mr. Polite’s experience includes jury trials, internal investigations, regulatory and administrative proceedings, and extensive motion practice. A New Orleans native, Mr. Polite currently serves as an attorney with Liskow and Lewis, where he practices in the areas of business litigation, appellate advocacy, government investigations and white-collar criminal defense. Prior to joining Liskow, Mr. Polite served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where served as lead counsel in numerous investigations and prosecutions of federal criminal offenses, including bribery, extortion, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and identity theft. In addition to several jury trial convictions in the areas of public corruption and organized crime, Mr. Polite’s experience as a federal prosecutor includes successfully briefing and arguing several cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Polite practiced for six years in the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. A graduate of Harvard University, and cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Mr. Polite clerked for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Mr. Polite represents a true success story for the city of New Orleans. He was born at Charity Hospital to teenage parents, reared during his early childhood by family and caregivers in the Calliope and Lafitte housing projects, and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward. Despite their humble beginnings, Mr. Polite’s family taught him that education would be the only path out of poverty. Following his formative years at Epiphany Elementary School, Mr. Polite attended De La Salle High School in New Orleans, where each year he won a competitively-awarded full academic scholarship. Among his numerous distinctions and awards, Mr. Polite was named Student Body President, Louisiana Boys State Governor, and Class Valedictorian, the first African-American to attain that distinction in the school’s history.
Mr. Polite is active in the local community, serving in leadership positions for a variety of regional organizations, including the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission, Breakthrough New Orleans, the Louisiana State Civil Service Commission, Young Leadership Council, the Pro Bono Project, and the New Orleans College Prep Charter School.