The United States Senate has unanimously confirmed Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel to fill two vacancies on the Federal Communications Commission. Action on the nominations of Pai and Rosenworcel had been delayed by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for several months in protest over the FCC’s handling of the Lightsquared satellite venture. Grassley dropped his hold on the nominations last week after the FCC released Lightsquared-related documents.
Pai and Rosenworcel are both well-versed in communications policy matters. Pai, who is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School, most recently was a partner at a Washington D.C. law firm; he previously served as an advisor in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel during Kevin Martin’s chairmanship, as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights, and as senior counsel in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. His private sector experience includes a stint as an associate general counsel for Verizon. Pai fills the vacancy created in 2011 when Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker left the FCC for a position with Comcast.
Rosenworcel, who graduated from Wesleyan University and New York University Law School, has served in recent years as the Senior Communication Counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee under Chairman Jay Rockefeller (DWV) and, before that, Chairman Daniel Inouye (DHI). She previously served in various positions at the FCC, including as Senior Legal Advisor to former Commissioner Michael Copps, whose seat on the Commission she is filling.
Rosenworcel and Pai are expected to name staff and begin participating in Commission proceedings immediately.