Campaign News
April 01, 2011

Obama taps Beck as US attorney

  ·  The Montgomery Advertiser   ·  Link to Article

President Barack Obama nominated Montgomery attorney George Beck to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on Thursday.

"For his diligence and relentless pursuit of justice, I have named George L. Beck to serve as a U.S. Attorney," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "I am confident he will serve the people of Alabama with distinction."

Beck, who lives in the Santuck community north of Wetumpka, said Thursday night that he was proud to be nominated by the president and looked forward to serving if the nomination is approved and the president sees fit to move on it after that.

"I think at this time in my career it is time to give something back to the community," he said.

Beck said he did not know how long or smooth the confirmation process could be.

"I believe that I should have the support of the Alabama senators and look forward to working through the Senate nomination process," he said.

Beck believes he can be a strong leader for the young staff of attorneys in the U.S. attorney's office, and work well with the Department of Justice to see that criminal and civil laws are enforced.

"I hopefully have the experience, judgment and maturity to see that the office achieves the purpose that our Constitution and federal laws require of it," he said.

Beck said it would be difficult leaving private practice, but believes he is leaving the firm in good hands.

"I look forward to the next few years," he said.

If approved by the U.S. Senate, Beck would replace U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and continued to serve more than half of Obama's term because Obama had not nominated a candidate.

Beck, who has worked as a white collar defense attorney, represented former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey, who was a key witness against the former governor, and represented former Gov. Guy Hunt in an ethics case.

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, said she was pleased with the nomination.

"George Beck will bring the right combination of legal experience, commitment, and service to the job of U.S. attorney," she said in a statement. "There is great respect for him among the members of the Montgomery County and Alabama State Bar Associations. George Beck has an exceptional record of service to the State of Alabama and the country."

The chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party applauded Obama for nominating Beck.

"I have known George for more than 20 years, and I have a deep respect for his ability to carry out the duties of the office with honor and incredible skill," said Mark Kennedy, chairman of the party. "President Obama's decision is the right thing to do, and it is a privilege to know that an attorney of George's caliber will be serving the people of the Middle District in the U.S. Attorney's office."

Some Democrats had criticized Obama for not replacing the Bush-appointed attorneys in Alabama sooner.

According to the state party, Beck's nomination "follows weeks of intense vetting and significant coordination between the Department of Justice and local Alabama officials, including the newly-elected chair of the Alabama Democratic Party."

Beck, a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama School of Law, has been a shareholder with the firm of Capell & Howard, P.C. since 2004. He was a sole practitioner from 1986 to 2003 and from 1979 to 1982, and he was a partner at Baxley, Beck, Dillard & Dauphin from 1982 to 1986.

He served as deputy attorney general for the state of Alabama from 1971 to 1979. Beck worked as an associate at St. John & St. John from 1966 to 1971 prior to his work for the state.

Beck enlisted in the Alabama Army National Guard in 1966, rising through the ranks before he was honorably discharged as a colonel in 2001.

Follow Terri