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No. 3: Jeh Johnson

Law Power 50

If the past two months have shown us anything, it’s that homeland security extends far beyond the anti-terrorism efforts that were the basis of the federal department’s 2002 founding in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Jeh Johnson; partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; former general counsel, U.S. Department of Defense

New Jersey and other states have seen just how pandemic preparation, response and prevention are a critical part of homeland security.

So it’s no surprise that Gov. Phil Murphy picked Jeh Johnson to sit on the 21-member commission and as one of three people representing New Jersey in a regional approach with seven neighboring states to roll back COVID-19 restrictions and kick-start the economy.

He spent four years as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, and before that, nearly four years as general counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense.

Johnson, now a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, could offer the governor crucial guidance on how to track down and isolate potential new COVID-19 cases, so as to prevent outbreaks and water down the effect of a widely-expected second wave.

After all, as Murphy says, “public health creates economic health.”

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