A Conversation with Michael Astrue

June 4, 2012

Michael J. Astrue was sworn in as Commissioner of Social Security on February 12, 2007 for a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2013.  The Social Security Administration is an independent federal agency headquartered in suburban Baltimore with over 65,000 employees nationwide.  Commissioner Astrue reports directly to President Obama.

Commissioner Astrue is an honors graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.  Early in his career, he worked for Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania and evaluated federal demonstration projects for both the National Council of Senior Citizens and a support center of the Legal Services Corporation.  After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Walter J. Skinner in the Federal District Court of Massachusetts.

After working briefly for the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray, he served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Counselor to the Commissioner of Social Security, Associate Counsel to Presidents Reagan and Bush, and General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  He successfully tried the first federal HIV discrimination enforcement case and successfully argued the first federal patient dumping enforcement case.  While General Counsel of HHS, he had a concurrent appointment on the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board during the period when the Board issued many of the first regulations under the Americans with Disability Act.

Listen to complete interview.

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