President Donald Trump nominated William Barr as Attorney General on Friday. Barr severed as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993.
Barr, 68, is a New York City native who attended Columbia University earning a bachelors degree and two masters degrees. He earned his JD from George Washington University Law School.
Since his tenure as Attorney General, he has been a corporate executive for several companies. In 2008, he retired from Verizon Communications as executive vice president and general counsel. Barr currently works in private practice for the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
Barr, a Catholic, is also known for his candid answer on Roe v. Wade during his confirmation hearing. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1991:
Atty. Gen.-designate William P. Barr, revealing his view on abortion for the first time, said Wednesday that the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion was wrongly decided and should be overturned.
Testifying at the second and final day of his Senate confirmation hearings, Barr said he believes that the right to privacy is in the Constitution, but that it did not extend to abortion as the Supreme Court said it did in the 1973 case.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, seemed startled by Barr’s answer to the question on “a woman’s right to choose” that was asked by Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio).
Biden, who noted he did not agree with Barr, said the nominee’s response was “the first candid answer” he had heard on the supersensitive question–one that judicial nominees traditionally refuse to answer. “It’s astounding to me,” Biden said. “You should be complimented.”
Barr, speaking in the flat, matter-of-fact tone that he has voiced throughout the unusually placid hearings, said the question of allowing abortions is “a legitimate issue for state legislators. That’s where the decision ought to be.”
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who will be the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair in January praised the appointment.
“President Trump made an outstanding decision in nominating William Barr to serve as the next Attorney General,” Graham said. “Mr. Barr is highly capable, highly respected and will provide new and much-needed leadership for the Department of Justice.”
“Having previously served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Barr is a known quantity, a man of the highest integrity and character, and has an impeccable reputation. He will provide a strong and steady hand to the fine men and women at the Department of Justice.
“I will do everything in my power to push him through the Senate Judiciary Committee and onto the floor of the Senate for eventual confirmation as soon as possible,” Graham concluded.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the outgoing Senate Judiciary Committee Chair who will be Senate President Pro-Tem and Senate Finance Committee Chair next Congress, also praised the decision.
“I am pleased that the President has made the choice to nominate the next Attorney General of the United States. Bill Barr is a talented, well-respected lawyer who has been committed to public service over the course of his long career. His compelling credentials and experience, serving at the highest levels in both government—including as a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush—and in the private sector, make him more than well-qualified to lead the Department of Justice again. I look forward to working with the President and Chairman Graham to move forward with former Attorney General Barr’s nomination in the next Congress,” Grassley said.
Barr upon confirmation will replace Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions after Trump fired him.