West arrived in the administration by way of the 2008 campaign. He served as cochairman of Obama's 2008 campaign in California, where the candidate raised an estimated $65 million. After the election, the president tapped West as his assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, the largest litigating division at Justice. Four years later, West has ascended to the No. 3 slot at DOJ, as the acting associate attorney general. While in charge of the Civil Division, he made his mark when he pushed to overturn strict immigration laws in states like Arizona and Alabama, defended the new health care law, and pursued legal challenges to BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The 47-year-old West has experience in both law and politics. He's run for office twice in his native California, losing city council and state Assembly races. In 2001, he was in the news for a different reason, working as defense attorney for "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh. West is the brother-in-law of California Attorney General Kamala Harris (the AG whom Obama called the nation's "best looking"). He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his law degree from Stanford.
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