The White House has nominated two attorneys to be the next Federal Communications Commission commissioners. Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai have been nominated to replace one Republican and one Democratic vacancy. The balance of power won't shift much, with the FCC's current 3-1 Democratic majority moving to a 3-2 majority.
Rosenworcel is the current Senate Commerce senior communications counsel, while Pai is a former top FCC adviser. The nominations were no great shock, as both were leading candidates for the empty FCC seat vacated by Republican Meredith Attwell Baker (Pai) and the vacancy that will be created by the departure at year's end of Commissioner Michael Copps.
Rosenworcel was a legal advisor on competition and Universal Service and a senior legal advisor to Copps before exiting in March 2007 to join the Senate Commerce Committee as a top communications advisor to Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.).
Pai joined law firm Jenner & Block (the firm which represented the EMA in our U.S. Supreme Court case) in April 2011 from the FCC where he served as Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, and Special Advisor to the General Counsel.
Before joining the FCC in 2007 under then Chairman Kevin Martin, Pai's resume included deputy chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts (2003-2004) and senior counsel in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy. Between 2005 and 2007, Pai was chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights, including lead counsel on Supreme Court nominations. He served as associate general counsel at Verizon from 2001 to 2003.