Jim Comey, expected to be nominated by President Obama as FBI director today, is a rarity among political types: a pro-marriage equality Republican.
Comey was one of more than 100 prominent Republicans who signed on to a friend of the court brief this year that urges the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California's Proposition 8 and all similar bans on same-sex marriage. "The right to marry indisputably falls within the narrow band of specially protected liberties that this Court ensures are protected from unwarranted curtailment," the brief reads in part.
Comey, who was deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, also won praise from Democrats and liberals for his refusal in 2004 "to certify the legal aspects of National Security Agency domestic surveillance during a stint as acting attorney general while John Ashcroft was hospitalized with pancreatitis," Reuters notes. It was "probably the most difficult night of my professional life," Comey said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2007.
Obama is expected to announce Comey's nomination this afternoon. If confirmed by the Senate, Comey will replace Robert Mueller, who has led the FBI since 2001 and is planning to step down this fall.
Comey, 52, was deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005, and he was deeply involved in antiterrorism efforts. Before that, he was a federal prosecutor for 15 years, including stints as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. His accomplishments included securing indictments in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, an action that killed 17 U.S. service members, and the prosecution of Martha Stewart for insider trading.
From 2005 to 2010 he was general counsel for aerospace company Lockheed Martin, and from 2010 until this year he worked for Bridgewater Associates, an investment firm. He recently became a senior research scholar at Columbia University's law school.