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President selects BYU grad for post

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WASHINGTON — President Bush has announced he intends to nominate former Utahn Jay Scott Bybee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Bybee, 47, is a law professor at the University of Nevada, where he has taught the past two years.

He was born in Oakland, Calif., but received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in 1977. He graduated cum laude from BYU's law school in 1980.

From 1989 to 1991, Bybee was an associate counsel to the senior President Bush. From 1984 to 1989 he worked at the Justice Department, first in the Office of Legal Policy and later at the Civil Division.

From 1991 to 1998, he taught constitutional and administrative law at Louisiana State University. From 1981 to 1984, he was an associate at the Washington law firm of Sidley & Associates. Bybee also served as a clerk to Judge Donald Russell of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Presidents routinely announce plans to nominate someone before actually doing it to allow people with objections to raise them early while final background checks proceed.

Bybee is among numerous Utahns and former Utahns nominated or appointed by Bush to serve in his administration. They include Karl Rove, Bush's top White House political advisor and new U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth.

Others nominated include: John W. Keys III to head the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; John Price as ambassador to Mauritius; Jon Huntsman Jr. as deputy U.S. trade representative; Jimmy Gurule as undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement; David D. Lauriski as assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health; and Randal Quarles as U.S. executive director at the International Monetary Fund.

Bush has also nominated University of Utah law professor Michael W. McConnell as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and fellow U. law professor Paul G. Cassell to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for Utah.

E-mail: lee@desnews.com