The Hon. Michael Garcia '89 will remain on the bench of the New York Court of Appeals—the state's highest court—after interviewing to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this month, according to multiple news reports.
Reacting to the news of Judge Garcia’s May 13 interview, Albany Law Professor Vincent Bonventre
praised the Albany Law alumnus as "extremely capable, ruggedly independent, and ethically demanding." Puerto Rican Bar Association President Carmen Pacheco
told the New York Law Journal that Judge Garcia "brings a lot of diversity of mind, because he's served the different branches of the profession."
He reportedly withdrew his name from consideration on May 17.
Judge Garcia was confirmed to the Court of Appeals in early 2016. From 2012 to 2014, he led a high-profile investigation into corruption in FIFA, soccer's international governing body, as chair of the investigatory chamber of its ethics committee. He joined Kirkland & Ellis as a partner in 2009, after serving as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2005 to 2008. Judge Garcia also notably—and successfully—prosecuted a series of major terrorism cases as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, a position he held from 1992 to 2001.
In between stints at the Manhattan federal prosecutor's office, Judge Garcia served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement in the Bureau of Industry and Security, Acting Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the United States Department of Justice, and Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the United States Department of Homeland Security.
"You can't make a plan for a career path like this,"
Judge Garcia told Albany Law Magazine after joining the Court of Appeals. "You have to be open to opportunity, you have to work hard, and you have to be willing to make a leap."
Judge Garcia was a member of the
Albany Law Review. He finished first in his class each year of law school, graduating as valedictorian in 1989.
An active member of the Albany Law community, Judge Garcia was recently on campus for the retirement celebration of Professor Stephen Gottlieb. In September, he participated in the 2016
Justice Robert H. Jackson Lecture Series event, "The Path to the Federal Prosecutor's Office."