The latest news from the Transition Office: We have sub-Cabinet Justice Department nominees -- bios after the jump:

Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he intends to nominate the following individuals for key posts at the United States Department of Justice: David Ogden, Deputy Attorney General; Elena Kagan, Solicitor General; Tom Perrelli, Associate Attorney General; and Dawn Johnsen, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.

Initial impressions: Kagan is the real story and has been on the short-list for this post since the very beginning of the transition process; she's a legal all-star (current Dean of Harvard Law School) and will be the first woman to permanently hold the position of solicitor general, which often leads to bigger and better things. After a few years at SG, Kagan could well be in line for a Supreme Court nomination. Ogden seems to be very qualified for his post, having held several high-level DOJ positions during the Clinton administration; the same is true of Perrelli. His current private law practice focuses on new media law, leading me to speculate he may have some influence over the approaching battle over net neutrality.

One particular point of interest: Johnson, the new head of the Office of Legal Counsel, has recently written articles entitled Faithfully Executing the Laws: Internal Legal Constraints on Executive Power and What's a President to Do? Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration's Abuses. Given that OLC was a hotbed of torture-justifying and illegal-surveillance-allowing during the last administration, it's nice to see that the new boss has a different set of ideas.

-- Tim Fernholz

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