Obama Nominates Senate Staffer and Telecom Lawyer for FCC Vacancies
Both likely will support the National Broadband Plan
WASHINGTON: President Obama has nominated a Senate staffer
and a telecom litigator to the Federal Communications Commission. Jessica
Rosenworcel (right) is senior telecom counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee, having
worked for Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii).
Ajit V. Pai (below, right) is a partner in the Litigation Department of Washington, D.C.
office of Jenner & Block LLP. He previously worked in the FCC Office of the
Rosenworcel would take the seat being vacated by her former boss, veteran
Democratic commissioner, Michael Copps, whose term expires at the end of this
year. Rosenworcel was Copps’ legal advisor from 2003 to 2007. Pai would take
the seat of Meredith Attwell Baker, who left the FCC in May to work for
Both likely will support the National Broadband Plan, Rosenworcel in a
discussion at the Wharton School of Business addressed FCC authority to
impose Net Neutrality under current statue:
“I think when you push all the political rhetoric aside, what you’ll find is
nobody, no matter, where they sit on this debate, is really interested in
applying a series of old-style telephone rules to new-fangled broadband
services. The important thing in the end is to identify not so much which title
all of these services fit in as what your principles and priorities are.... How
to we make sure that broadband is ubiquitous? How do we make sure consumers are
protected? How do we make sure public safety officials... have access to the
networks they need.... How do we make sure that we provide proper incentives
for private investment?”
During his commission tenure, Pai was involved in network neutrality, spectrum
auctions, the Sirius-XM merger and media ownership matters. He argued for
program access rules in National Cable & Telecommunications Association v.
FCC in the D.C. Court of Appeals, one that the FCC won. He was associate
general counsel for Verizon from 2001 to 2003.
National Association of Broadcasters chief Gorgon Smith issued the a brief
statement acknowledging the nominations: “NAB congratulates Ajit Pai and
Jessica Rosenworcel--two talented individuals with a commitment to public
service--for their nomination to the FCC.”
FCC Chairman Julius Genechowski said, “President Obama made two outstanding
choi8ces for the commission and for the American people. Given their talent,
leadership and expertise in our space, they would both plan an invaluable role
at the FCC.”
Rosenworcel initially joined the FCC in 1999 after two years as a communications
associate at Drinker Biddle and Reath. She graduated from Wesleyan University
and the New York University School of Law.
Pai began his career as a law clerk to Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and then as an Honors
Program trial attorney in the Telecommunications Task Force at the U.S.
Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. He holds a B.A. from Harvard
University and a law degree from the University of Chicago. He is a member of
the D.C. and Kansas bars.
-- Deborah D. McAdams, Television Broadcast