The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kenneth Polite as assistant attorney general to lead the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
The bipartisan vote to confirm Polite was 56-44, with the entire Democratic delegation joined by six Republicans in support. Two Republican senators who voted yes, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, represent Polite’s home state of Louisiana.
Despite 44 “nay” votes, Polite’s appointment process faced little opposition in Congress. His nomination was voted out of the judiciary committee in June by a bipartisan vote of 14-8.
President Joe Biden first tapped Polite for the position in April.
Polite joins the Justice Department from Morgan Lewis, where his practice focused on internal investigations and corporate compliance. Prior to joining the law firm, he worked as vice president and chief compliance officer at Fortune 500 electric power company Entergy.
“It is a tremendous honor for Kenneth to be selected for this leadership position at the Department of Justice,” said Morgan Lewis Chair Jami McKeon in a press release. “We are very proud and are confident that he will perform his new role with distinction as he continues his long record of government service and dedication to the rule of law.”
At Morgan Lewis, Polite served on the firm’s racial justice task force, Mobilizing for Equality, including as a co-leader of the Conversation on Privilege and Anti-Racism working group.
Polite also served as former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana during the Obama administration.
“As an experienced prosecutor who has served his community throughout his career, Mr. Polite is certainly qualified for this important position. … In addition to his extensive experience as a public servant, Mr. Polite also has a remarkable personal story,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a press release.
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division develops, enforces, and supervises the application of federal criminal laws. Polite will assume leadership of the division from acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid.