Douglas W. Kmiec, Pepperdine's Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law, was confirmed by the Senate as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Malta on Friday, August 7. The vote was unanimous.
"The confirmation process is long and thorough, as it must be," said Kmiec. "Nevertheless, like any examination—and I have both taken and given more than my share—it is satisfying to have it concluded and concluded so well. I know in going to this ancient place of beauty and antiquity where there is history at every turn, that I will be representing the sovereignty of the United States. The fidelity one owes to country and countrymen make that humbling indeed. With the high esteem in which our president and secretary of state are held abroad, it is a particularly good moment to be taking up this responsibility. I embrace it."
The Republic of Malta, a European country located in the Mediterranean, 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 on the law faculty at the University of Notre Dame.
Beyond the university setting, Kmiec was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), U.S. Department of Justice (1988-1989). For several years before his presidential appointment, 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.
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.
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.
Kmiec will be on leave from Pepperdine as the Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law during his service.