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Obama nominates Georgetown Law’s Harris for Davis’ seat on 4th Circuit

President Barack Obama has nominated Pamela A. Harris, of Potomac, to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Harris would succeed Judge André M. Davis, who took senior status in February.

Obama, in announcing the nomination Thursday, said in a statement that Harris “has shown unwavering integrity and an outstanding commitment to public service.”

Harris, a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation while at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington from 1999 to 2009. From 2007 to 2009, she also co-directed Harvard Law School’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Clinic and was a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center, according to a White House biography.

In 2009, she was named executive director of Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute but left the following year to become principal deputy assistant attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. She returned to Georgetown in 2012.

Maryland’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats like the president, recommended that Obama nominate Harris to succeed Davis, a Baltimorean.

“Ms. Harris has a commitment to the rule of law and a passion for how it affects the lives of ordinary Americans,” Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said in a statement after the nomination. “She is an extraordinarily qualified Marylander that will be a true asset to the 4th Circuit.”

Sen. Ben Cardin said Harris “has an appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of each branch of government, having clerked at federal appellate courts and supervised policy initiatives at DOJ.”

Harris, a graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1985 and a law degree from the New Haven, Conn., school in 1990. She clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1990 to 1991 and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens from 1992 to 1993, according to the White House biography.

From 1993 to 1996, she served as an attorney-advisor at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Harris was an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1996 to 1999, when she joined O’Melveny & Myers.

The Richmond, Va.-based 4th Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas.