Obama Names Tony West to Justice Post

Ten years ago, in January 1998, Metro newspaper named Tony West as one of the people to watch in Silicon Valley, an up-and-comer. At the time, the Evergreen-raised graduate of Bellarmine Preparatory School was a federal prosecutor and member of the San Jose Planning Commission who had his eye on the District 3 City Council seat being vacated by term-limited David Pandori. With degrees from Harvard and Stanford, West was clearly one of the best educated people ever to run for San Jose City Council. He was defeated by Cindy Chavez.
In 2000, West ran against Manny Diaz for the California Assembly seat occupied by Mike Honda before he entered U.S. Congress. Subject to a racially-tinged, last-minute political hit funded by a previously unknown group, California Voter Project, West was branded as “The Oakland Raider.” Diaz won.
West left San Jose after that. He likes to recall that he was called “the best candidate to have never won a race.”
He worked as a California Special Assistant Attorney General under Bill Lockyer and joined the high powered international law firm Morrison & Foerster at its San Francisco office in 2001. His wife, Maya, serves as executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. His sister-in-law, Kamala Harris, is the district attorney of San Francisco.
West struck up a friendship with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama while serving as a delegate for John Kerry in 2004. He played basketball with Obama and later served as finance co-chair of Obama’s campaign in California, which raised a noteworthy $65 million.
On Thursday, January 22, President Obama named Tony West to head the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division. The division handles claims and recoveries involving billions of dollars, and its scope includes national security issues, criminal violations of consumer protection laws and constitutional issues.
Clearly, West’s career, San Jose’s present and now the United State’s future are different because the voters of District 3 didn’t elect Tony West. It might have been West instead of Chavez who spent eight years as a council representative preparing for the 2008 San Jose mayor’s race, a contest that could have turned out differently with West in the mix.

YouTube Interview with Tony West.


  1. Do you mean that Tony West could have saved us not only from the scourge of Cindy Chavez, but also Chuck Reed? The dirty tricksters at the Labor Temple should take heed. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When they turn on centrist, non-SBLC aligned Democrats, they divide the base and drive progressives away. The end result is mediocrity.

  2. Congratulations to Tony, he’ll be an asset to the Obama administration.

    An aside to the Silicon Valley Newsroom, West left San Jose after he lost the council race. His wife and children were living in Oakland when he came back to run for the Assembly seat. While Diaz’ racist campaign notices were abhorrent they did attempt to point out West’s residence.

  3. Congratulations, Tony!  You deserve this success, and could not have found a better guy in President Obama to work for. 

    I worked for Tony’s campaign when he ran for Assembly against Diaz, and got to know him and his family a little.  He is an exceptional guy, and will do well wherever his career takes him. 

    Again, Congratulations to you, Tony, on your appointment.  I wish you continued success in your future.

  4. I always felt Tony West might be too good for our city council.  Although I did vote for him, I’m glad this direction has taken place in his life.  Many of my views may differ from his, however, I do feel his is a top notch individual and wish him the best.

  5. Head of the DOJ Civil Division!!??? Another appointee that is clearly not qualified for the post, dare I say. But who can stop the Obama machine. Not that those of you who worship Obama are interested in facts. Oh,…he played hoops with Obama? Oh well, now that helps! I’ll pass on the Cool Aid but you folks go ahead. Knock yourselves out….

  6. 8 – Do you have a shred of fact to back-up your nonsensical gibberish? Since Tony has a long and distinguished resume in the Justice field I assume you are just running off at the month. Looking forward to something factual from you but I expect I will be waiting a long time.

  7. 9- Well maybe you can post Mr. West’s resume here and we can debate his qualifications. He was appointed HEAD of the Division and the burden of demonstrating his qualifications is upon those appointing him, not those who choose not to rubberstamp every move Obama makes. BTW, that would be YOU and those like you.

  8. 12 – Nice duck. Just as I expected. BTW, I have not “rubberstamped every move Obama makes.” I was talking about this one appointment and your non-fact based attack. Nice try, though.

  9. 14- Actually, which you may not find interesting, that was on point. Perhaps, since you are such an ardent defender, you can post his resume or qualifications? Or did you play hoops with Mr. West too? I’m betting you wish you had. A casual observer in the industry can see he is not yet qualified. Might he be eventually? Certainly, but not yet. But don’t let me stop you from the Obama Cool Aid. Drink up!

  10. 16- Point 1: Tony West: UNQUALIFIED, Point 2: Obama zombies like you don’t care. Pretty simple. He is the Pied Piper. That’s OK though. Be proud. You can admit it. Or not,…we understand,…don’t ask, don’t tell and all. Hey have you bought your little Obama wristwatch yet? Oh maybe an Obama pillow case and matching sheet set?? wink

  11. 17 – I’ll ignore the silly aspect of your comments and ask once more—why is he unqualified? You have provided zero substance to back-up your comments. If all you can respond with is your childish little sound bites, I understand, but it doesn’t answer the question or make your case.
    If it’s easier for you, just answer who you think would be qualified and why. I’m trying to simplify this as much as possible since the big ideas seem to confuse you.

  12. 18 -Refresh my memory on this,…who appointed West and CLAIMS he is qualified? Whose burden is it to demonstrate that he is qualified?? But my guess is that these questions, for you, lack substance. Oh, and please, don’t ignore my silly comments. They amuse and actually are a reflection of your loyal service to Lord Obama.

  13. What happened Interesting? No longer interested in reality?? Hey,…I guess that having defended Taliban Johnny still worked out for Mr West eh. Still waiting for Mr West’s resume here. And yes, that despicable fact IS on Mr West’s resume. Not that it really matters anymore. He’s in so we’ll deal with it. I wonder who will be the next unqualified individual your Lord Obama will appoint next…

  14. Having work on Tony West campain it was a realy pleasure and meeting his family, even as today my children still talk of how much a inspiration that he as imprinted on them.
    Tony congradulations to you and your family.

  15. So Reality, are you saying that “Taliban Johnny,” as you refer to him, doesn’t deserve legal representation – a fundamental requisite of our entire adversarial legal system.  Failure to provide legal representation to all accused criminals, regardless of the crime of which they are accused, jeopardizes all of our rights and freedoms as citizens.

    Tony’s resume is posted on the MoFo website for the world to see – including you, and it’s pretty impressive.

    But as my father once told me, when you see a smart man arguing with a fool, it’s hard to tell which one the fool is – so I won’t argue with you. Another tenant of American freedom and democracy is the right of each individual to maintain his/her own opinion, regardless of how uniformed it may be.

  16. Another overrated self-promoter.  He never did anything in San Jose, other than run for office.  Will he be our next Condie Rice.  Look at the mess she got us into!

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