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June 2011

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AO Head, Jim Duff, Announces Resignation


Director of the Administrative Office, James C. Duff

Director of the Administrative Office, James C. Duff

James C. Duff, Director of the Administrative Office (AO), will resign this summer to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Forum, a non-partisan private foundation dedicated to improving understanding of the First Amendment and the Constitution. Duff was appointed Director of the AO July 1, 2006, by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice Roberts described Director Duff as “a dedicated public servant who has led the Administrative Office with great skill.” The Chief Justice said, “Jim is widely respected throughout the federal courts; his work has always reflected his deep commitment to ensuring that the federal Judiciary has the administrative support to enable it to fulfill its vital role under the Constitution. I will miss his wise counsel.”

The AO Director oversees and coordinates an annual budget of $7 billion, supporting 35,000 employees nationwide, and serves as Secretary to the Judicial Conference of the United States and as a member of the Board of the Federal Judicial Center.

“I am very grateful to Chief Justice Roberts for the opportunity to work for him and our dedicated federal judges and courts, and with the AO staff for the past five years. Our nation’s federal judicial system is a model for other nations and is consistently held in the highest regard by the public,” Duff said. “It has been a privilege to serve the Third Branch, and I look forward to educating the public in my new position about our important Constitutional freedoms the courts have helped protect.”

Duff has served under three Chief Justices. In addition to his tenure as Director of the AO under Chief Justice Roberts, he was Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s Administrative Assistant (now called “Counselor to the Chief Justice”) from 1996-2000, serving as the chief of staff at the Supreme Court and as liaison to the other two branches of government on behalf of the Chief Justice. He began his career as an office and courtroom assistant to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975–1979, while attending law school at Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to his appointment as Director of the Administrative Office, he was managing partner of the Washington office of the law firm of Baker Donelson, where he served as counsel and secretary to the Freedom Forum. The Freedom Forum funds the Newseum, a Washington, D.C.-based interactive museum of history, news, and technology, and the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University.