Two lawyers who previously worked at the Federal Communications Commission have been nominated by President Obama to serve as new FCC commissioners.
Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Varadaraj Pai have significant experience as government attorneys at the FCC, on Capitol Hill and within the U.S. Department of Justice.
Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Rosenworcel and Pai would replace veteran FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and fill the post previously held by Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican who left the commission earlier this year to work for Comcast Corp. as senior vice president of government affairs, NBCUniversal.
The FCC is currently only staffed by four commissioners – three Democrats and one Republican – rather than the usual five. Citing experts, The Washington Post said the nominations of Rosenworcel and Pai could go before the U.S. Senate for confirmation within weeks.
Rocenworcel, who earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law, is the senior communications counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She has worked for Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) since 2009 and previously was on the staff of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Before joining the Senate Commerce Committee, Rosenworcel worked at the FCC for eight years in various positions, including senior legal advisor to Copps. She also was a communications associate for two years at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, a national law firm.
"Her experience here, combined with her current Congressional work, give her a perspective on telecom and media issues both wide and deep," said Copps, remarking on Rosenworcel's nomination. "Her dedication, intelligence, and practical good judgment make her an ideal choice for Commissioner."
Pai is a partner in the litigation department of Jenner & Block LLP – a 97-year-old law firm with around 450 attorneys – and previously worked in the FCC's Office of the General Counsel where he served as Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel and Special Advisor to the General Counsel.
Pai also has served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts and as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications. He earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago and began his career as a law clerk to Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana before moving on to the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division where he served as an Honors Program trial attorney in the Telecommunications Task Force.
"Ajit, if confirmed, will bring a wealth of experience from both the public and private sectors as well as a solid understanding of the issues that come before the Commission," said FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. "American consumers will be well served by his strong background."