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    The Seattle Times

    Judges appoint Sullivan as Seattle-based U.S. Attorney

    September 26, 2007
    By Jennifer Sullivan
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    Eleven U.S. District Court judges have formally appointed Jeffrey Sullivan as the next U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

    Sullivan was sworn in as interim U.S. attorney in January, shortly after the Justice Department's controversial firing of John McKay in December.

    Though his appointment was set to end Oct. 12, along with those of 11 other interim U.S. attorneys across the country, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik said Sullivan was selected unanimously to stay on the job by the local federal judiciary.

    A controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act allowed the Bush administration to name U.S. attorneys without confirmation from the Senate. That provision was repealed early this year amid the uproar over the firings McKay and at least seven other U.S. attorneys around the country.

    Once the provision was repealed, the law regarding U.S. attorney appointments returned to its former state: If someone isn't nominated and confirmed to the position within 120 days, the federal court in the district gets to make the appointment. The appointment lasts until someone is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

    Lasnik said last week that his law clerks had been reviewing federal law and he had consulted with other chief district court judges in the Ninth Circuit to see how they're handling the replacement of their U.S. attorneys.

    "Our court has great regard for the United States Attorney's Office in this district and we wanted to maintain the standard of excellence and professionalism that John McKay set and that Jeff Sullivan has continued as Interim U.S. Attorney," Lasnik wrote in an email this morning.