Late yesterday, President Obama nominated Julie S. Brill and Edith Ramirez to fill the two available seats on the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has had one open seat since former (Republican) Chair Deborah Platt Majoras left to become Vice President and General Counsel of Proctor and Gamble. The second slot is the seat of Independent Pamela Jones Harbour, whose term expired last month. Both nominees will face a confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has oversight authority for the Agency. No date for that hearing has yet been announced. All indications point to a smooth confirmation hearing and Senate vote for these two candidates, but Ms. Ramirez is rumored to have encountered some challenges in the vetting process that could re-emerge in her hearing. A summary of the nominees' qualifications appears below.
Julia S. Brill
Julie S. Brill, a noted privacy and consumer protection expert, is currently Senior Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the North Carolina Department of Justice. Previously, she was an Assistant Attorney General for Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the State of Vermont for over 20 years (1988-2009). In that capacity, Ms. Brill spearheaded Vermont's litigation and legislative efforts in a wide variety of areas affecting consumers, including pharmaceuticals, privacy, fair credit reporting, tobacco, and antitrust. Ms. Brill organized the National State Attorneys General Program's Pharmaceutical Law Conference in May 2007, at which she was a principal speaker. Ms. Brill also organized the National Association of Attorneys General Presidential Initiative Conference on pharmaceutical issues. Ms. Brill has been the recipient of several honors such as the National Association of Attorneys General Privacy Subcommittee Award in 2001, Privacy International's 2001 Brandeis Award for her work promoting consumers' interests in privacy issues and the National Association of Attorneys General Marvin Award in 1995 for outstanding leadership, expertise and achievement in advancing the goals of the Association. She is Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorney General Privacy Working Group and Fair Credit Reporting Working Group. She has been a Vice-Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the American Bar Association since 2002.
Despite working primarily outside of Washington, Ms. Brill has made appearances on the national stage. In 2005, she urged a Congressional panel to require that consumers be notified of data security breaches unless there would be no risk of harm to them or misuse of their personal information and in 2003, Ms. Brill urged greater protections to stop corporations from sharing nonpublic financial information about consumers.
Ms. Brill is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School and holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a law degree from New York University School of Law, where she had a Root-Tilden Scholarship for her commitment to public service and was reportedly a classmate of current FTC Chair Jonathan Leibowitz.
Edith Ramirez is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urguhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP, a firm that describes itself as a 400 plus attorney litigation firm, "the largest in the United States devoted solely to business litigation." Ms. Ramirez is a commercial litigator who has specialized in intellectual property and entertainment matters. On her firm website, she lists her practice areas as Appellate, Entertainment and Media Litigation and Intellectual Property Litigation. Her clients have included Mattel, ABC, Disney, Izumi Products, and Seiko Epson Corporation. In the field of Spanish-language music and entertainment, Ms. Ramirez has counseled and represented Latin promotion and production companies, including, Hauser-CIE Entertainment, Univision, and Ventura Production, in a variety of litigation matters. Ms. Ramirez is also Vice President and on the Board of Commissioners of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Volunteers of America.
Ms. Ramirez is a 1989 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College and a 1992 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where she worked with President Obama as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Ms. Ramirez served as a law clerk to the Hon. Alfred T. Goodwin (USCA 9th) in 1992-1993 and from 1993-1996, she was an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. During the recent Presidential campaign, Ms. Ramirez took a leave from private practice to serve as California Deputy Political Director and Director of Latino Outreach, Obama for America.