Pamela Karlan, who was co-director of Stanford’s Supreme Court litigation clinic, will now serve as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s civil division. She was an outspoken witness during the House’s 2019 impeachment inquiry against former President Donald Trump, during which she made a reference to Trump’s son, who was just 13 years old at the time.
“The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Karlan said, drawing laughter from some in attendance.
Karlan later apologized for the quip.
“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”
Then-first lady Melania Trump came to her son’s defense, chastising Karlan for the joke.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” then-First Lady Melania Trump tweeted in response. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”
Karlan’s new job with the DOJ comes after she was part of Biden’s transition, serving on his DOJ agency review team.
Karlan also previously served on Facebook’s Oversight Board, a body that the social media giant says “uses its independent judgment to support people’s right to free expression and ensure those rights are being adequately respected.” The board released its first five decisions in January, overturning four decisions in which Facebook had taken down posts.
Karlan had gone on leave from the Oversight Board when she joined Biden’s transition team, according to Politico, and has now fully resigned to join the DOJ.