Law School Announces Distinguished Government Appointments

Posted: January 14, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Two faculty members and a student in the George Mason School of Law have been appointed to prestigious positions in the U.S. government.

Associate Professor of Law Michael O’Neill has been named chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He is taking a leave of absence from the George Mason School of Law. A member of the law school faculty since 1998, O’Neill specializes in criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He also served as a commissioner of the United States Sentencing Commission from 1999 to 2005.

“I think it will be an interesting time to be working in the Senate and I hope, to the extent I am able, to continue to raise George Mason’s profile on the Hill,” O’Neill said in a message to his law school colleagues. “George Mason is a very special place, and we are uniquely situated to provide counsel to policy makers.” He added that he will remain active in the law school and looks forward to coming back to teaching full time, “hopefully in the near future.”

Commenting on O’Neill’s new position, Daniel Polsby, acting dean of the law school, said, “Once again, a George Mason law professor is called to serve our country. Directing the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee is one of the most sensitive and important posts in government, requiring someone deeply knowledgeable about the Department of Justice, the federal judiciary, and federal sentencing policy, and who is trusted by senators of both parties. Michael O’Neill is the ideal candidate, uniquely qualified for the job. We shall miss him and look forward to his return.”

Before joining the Mason law faculty, O’Neill served as general counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and as an appellate litigator in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Appellate Section. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and for the Honorable David B. Sentelle, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. O’Neill received a BA degree summa cum laude from Brigham Young University and a JD degree from Yale Law School.

The law school also announced that Timothy Muris, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law and former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, will serve on a nine-member panel to recommend ways to simplify the U.S. tax code. President George W. Bush selected Muris to serve on the President’s Panel on Federal Tax Reform, which has a July 31 deadline to issue a report. Former Sens. Connie Mack and John Breaux will head the panel.

Muris joined the law school in 1988 and served as interim dean from 1996 to 1997. He served as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 2001 to 2004. In addition to his position at George Mason, he is of counsel at the O’Melveny & Myers law firm. He will continue to teach at the law school during his service on the panel. Muris earned his BA from San Diego State University and his JD from the University of California, Los Angeles.

In other law school news, student Anna Escobedo Cabral was sworn in on Dec. 13, 2004, as treasurer of the United States. She has taken a leave of absence from the law school. Cabral serves as director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Latino Initiatives. Previously, she was president and CEO of the Hispanic Corporation on Corporate Responsibility. Her career includes service as deputy staff director for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cabral received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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