Douglas W. Kmiec, Pepperdine's Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law, was appointed to be ambassador to the Republic of Malta by President Barack Obama on July 2. The nomination must first be confirmed by the Senate in September.
"I'm grateful for President Obama's confidence in this nomination, and I'm looking forward to meeting with members of the Senate and answering the questions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," said Kmiec. "I'm hopeful that they will confirm the president's expression of confidence."
The Republic of Malta is a European country located in the Mediterranean. Malta has a population of over 400,000, and the country has figured prominently in Christian history. As recorded in the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul shipwrecked onto the island nation. Malta has a long legacy of Roman Catholicism, which continues to be the official and dominant religion in the country.
One of America's best known scholars and popular commentators on the law, Kmiec came to Pepperdine after serving 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 (1980-99), on the law faculty at the University of Notre Dame.
As dean at Catholic University, Kmiec greatly increased academic quality and student selectivity at the same time he deepened the school's religious commitment. During his tenure, the law school moved up noticeably in the U.S. News ranking. At Notre Dame, he was director of Notre Dame's Center on Law & Government, and the founder of its Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. Beyond the university setting, Kmiec was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), U.S. Department of Justice (1988-89). For several years before his presidential appointment (1985-87), he served together with (now Justice) Samuel A. Alito, Jr. as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in OLC.
A wide-ranging writer and engaging speaker, Kmiec writes a syndicated column for the Catholic News Service, and for several years wrote a regular column in the Chicago Tribune. He is also a frequent contributor to the pages of the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and other periodicals. He is the coauthor (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. Another recent book, Cease-Fire on the Family (Crisis Books/Notre Dame) attracted scholarly and popular acclaim for proposing realistic ways for families to "end the culture war" by renewing personal virtue and civic responsibility within itself. He has also written The Attorney General's Lawyer (Praeger 1992), and several respected legal treatises. In 2008, he authored Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama (Overlook Press/Penguin) which sold out in bookstores around the country and ranked Number One in its category on Amazon during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Kmiec's scholarly research spans legal and non-legal subjects, from the Constitution and the federal system, to land use and the organization of America society. He is a frequent guest on national news programs, such as the Newshour, Meet the Press, CNN, and NPR's All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, analyzing constitutional questions.
A White House Fellow (1982-83), Kmiec is one of a few individuals who has received the Distinguished Service Award from two cabinet departments: the Department of Justice in 1987 and Housing and Urban Development in 1983. In 1988, he was awarded the Edmund J. Randolph Award by the attorney general. He has lectured on the U.S. Constitution in Asia as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar.
An honors graduate of Northwestern, Kmiec received his law degree from the University of Southern California, where he served on the Law Review and received the Legion Lex Commencement Prize for Legal Writing. He is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the state bars of Illinois and California.