Monday, July 6, 2009
Pepperdine’s Kmiec Named Ambassador to Malta
By a MetNews Staff Writer
President Barack Obama has named Pepperdine Law School Professor Douglas W. Kmiec as the ambassador to the Republic of Malta.
If the Senate approves his appointment before the summer recess, Kmiec told the MetNews he could be headed to the archipelago nation located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily as soon as August or September.
A conservative pro-life Catholic, Kmieic said that Malta is “ideally located for the kind of interfaith dialogue we need in the 21st century,” and that it was a “great honor” to be nominated by Obama “on the eve of the President’s visit with the Holy Father in Rome.”
Malta has figured prominently in Christian history, and Kmiec recounted that “St. Luke records in the Gospel that the people of Malta greeted St. Paul, whose shipwreck occurred there some 1,950 years ago…with unusual kindness.”
While he has never been to the Roman Catholic country, he commented that “everything I’ve learned about this ancient and magnificently beautiful country tells me that quality remains in great abundance.”
Kmiec said he was “optimistic” about receiving Senate approval and “looking forward to continue the sincere friendship that has always existed between the United States and the Republic.”
If all goes according to plan, Kmiec said he will be taking a leave of absence from Pepperdine, but “if they’ll have me back, I’ll come back and share an enlarged perspective upon having toured a different part of the world and experienced their generosity.”
He holds the endowed chair in constitutional law at Pepperdine, having previously served several years as dean and St. Thomas More Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and for nearly two decades on the law faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where he was director of Notre Dame’s Center on Law & Government, and the founder of its Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy.
Kmiec is a frequent legal commentator, and writes a syndicated column for the Catholic News Service. For several years wrote a regular column in the Chicago Tribune.
He is the co-author (with legal historian Stephen Presser of Northwestern) of three books on the Constitution— “The American Constitutional Order;” “Individual Rights and the American Constitution;” and “The History, Structure and Philosophy of the American Constitution.” Last year, he authored “Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question About Barack Obama.” Kmiec drew criticism last year for having thrown his support behind Obama after having initially supported Republican nominee hopeful Mitt Romney.
In 1988 he was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan as Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel for U.S. Department of Justice after having spent two years as deputy assistant attorney general.
Kmiec has also been a White House Fellow and a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar on the Constitution in Asia.
An honors graduate of Northwestern University, Kmiec received his law degree from USC, where he served on the Law Review and received the Legion Lex Commencement Prize for Legal Writing.
He is admitted to the bars of California and Illinois.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company