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Professor O'Neill Named Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee

Associate Professor of Law Michael E. O'Neill has been named Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. He will take a leave of absence from the George Mason University School of Law beginning January 2005. Professor O'Neill has been a member of the law school faculty since 1998 and 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.

Acting Dean Daniel Polsby expressed the sentiments of the entire law school community in wishing Professor O'Neill the best in his new position: "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."

In a message to his law school colleagues, Professor O'Neill indicated that he "will still be active around school" and "also hopes, to the extent I am able, to continue to raise GMU’s profile on the Hill." He added that "I think it will be an interesting time to be working in the Senate and look forward to coming back to teaching full time in the hopefully near future. GMU is a very special place and we are uniquely situated to provide counsel to policy-makers."

Before joining the faculty at George Mason, Professor O'Neill served as general counsel for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 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. Professor O'Neill received a B.A. degree summa cum laude from Brigham Young University and a J.D. degree from Yale Law School.