June 1, 2011

James C. Duff, left, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Charles L. Overby. (Sam Kittner)

Freedom Forum Names New President, CEO

WASHINGTON — James C. Duff, chief administrative officer of the U.S. court system,  was named the next president and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, which operates the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Duff, 57, will join the Freedom Forum this summer.

"Jim is widely respected throughout the federal courts," said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who appointed Duff as director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in 2006. "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."

Since his appointment by Roberts, Duff has overseen the federal judiciary's 35,000 employees and its $7 billion annual budget. He has also served as secretary to the Judicial Conference of the United States, the courts' governing body.

Before he became chief administrator of the U.S. courts, Duff was managing partner of the Washington office of the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. The firm's Washington office was founded by Howard Baker Jr., former majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

While at the Baker firm, Duff served as counsel and secretary to the Freedom Forum and its related entities — the Newseum, First Amendment Center and Diversity Institute.

"The Freedom Forum and the Newseum perform a great public service," Duff said. "They educate the public about the Constitution and our precious First Amendment rights. Both organizations have flourished under the stewardship of their founder and top executives, and it is a privilege to be entrusted to lead these organizations into the future."

Also at the Baker firm, Duff represented the University of Kentucky's federal interests. As an undergraduate at Kentucky, he was a walk-on member of the basketball team. He graduated from Kentucky in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and High Distinction in its Honors Program. He earned his J.D. degree at Georgetown University Law Center in 1981 and also attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

From 1996 to 2000, Duff served as counselor/administrative assistant to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and was his liaison with Congress, the executive branch and various state and federal organizations involved with the administration of justice. He also served as counsel to the chief justice in his role as presiding officer of the presidential impeachment trial in 1999 and assisted Rehnquist in his duties as chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution.

Duff will succeed Charles L. Overby, who will turn 65 in September after a long and distinguished career at the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. Overby, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has served as chief executive of the Freedom Forum and its predecessor foundation since 1989.

Duff is married to Kathleen Gallagher-Duff, a lawyer at Covington & Burling. They have three children.

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