A Richland native is being mentioned as a top candidate to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Many in Washington, D.C., are focusing on Kathryn Ruemmler, a former White House counsel who recently returned to private practice, as possibly the next attorney general, according to the New York Times.
Ruemmler, 43, is a 1989 Richland High School graduate.
She is considered a highly trusted adviser to President Obama and helped guide his thinking on issues like gay rights, the Affordable Care Act and the reach of executive authority during her time as the president's top lawyer from 2011-14, the Times said. She is one of only three women to serve as White House counsel.
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Ruemmler graduated from the University of Washington and Georgetown University Law School. She told the Herald for a feature in June 2011 that she was honored to serve the country and the president when she was named White House counsel in 2011.
"I hope to ably represent my family and friends in the Tri-Cities and make them proud," she said in an email at the time.
She oversaw a team of 45 attorneys in the White House, while providing Obama with advice on domestic and international issues, including national security, according to her firm's website. She worked on cases heading to the U.S. Supreme Court and was responsible for the selection and nomination process for federal judges.
Ruemmler forged a prominent legal career that includes serving as principal deputy counsel in the White House under Bob Bauer from January 2010 to June 2011, according to Herald archives.
Prior to that, she worked under the Obama administration in the Department of Justice as principal associate deputy attorney general.
Ruemmler was associate counsel to President Clinton from 2000-01.
After that she worked in private practice and as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., and later as one of the lead prosecutors on the Enron Task Force. According to her firm's website, she made closing arguments in the securities fraud case against the former leaders of the disgraced energy company.
In May 2014, Ruemmler returned to the law firm Latham & Watkins, where she worked from 2007-09 as a partner in the litigation department and the co-chairwoman of the white collar defense and investigations practice.
Her honors include winning the National Association of Women Lawyers' Public Service Award in 2014 and being named Lawyer of the Year by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
Ruemmler has won over skeptical Republicans, the Times said, but if nominated, she likely would face questions about advice she gave on the IRS scandal and the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Holder announced his resignation Thursday after six years as attorney general but plans to stay on until a successor is named.