A Phoenix attorney and former top aide to former Gov. Janet Napolitano is expected to be the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona.
The state’s Democratic congressional delegation has given its unanimous support to Dennis Burke.
Once the background checks conducted by the Justice Department are completed, Burke is expected to be an easy nomination for President Barack Obama, say political insiders.
“I’m glad President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder see what a fine man he is,” former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., said June 15. “I’m just surprised it didn’t come sooner.”
DeConcini once worked closely with Burke on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the early 1990s and is among those who wrote letters encouraging Burke’s appointment.
As the counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under DeConcini, Burke is credited with helping garner support for the passage of a bill to ban automatic weapons in the early 1990s. “He knows the judicial system inside and out,” DeConcini said.
Burke also worked as a clerk at the Arizona Supreme Court and as chief deputy attorney general.
Burke has been a policy adviser to the White House Domestic Policy Council and special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Justice Department.
Burke does have some opposition.
“Burke is known for little other than carrying Napolitano’s water at the Attorney General’s Office, then at the Governor’s Office,” authors of the Sonoran Alliance, a conservative, Arizona-based political blog, wrote last month.
The group also blamed the state’s current fiscal problems on Napolitano and her staff including Burke.
If chosen for the job, Burke would replace U.S. Attorney Diane Humetewa, who was appointed by the Bush administration after seven U.S. attorneys were fired in midterm, including Phoenix lawyer Paul Charlton.
Humetewa declined to comment on the possible selection of her successor or any future plans.
Burke was in Washington, D.C. June 15 and was unavailable for comment.