[JURIST] Assistant US Attorney General Peter D. Keisler [official profile] announced his resignation [press release] as head of the US Department of Justice's Civil Division [official website] Thursday, effective September 21. During his tenure at the Justice Department, Keisler was responsible for managing litigation over the habeas corpus rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST news archive]. He also played a hand in the government's lawsuit [DOJ backgrounder] against the tobacco industry [JURIST news archive] in 2005. Last year, President Bush nominated [JURIST report] Keisler to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but the Senate has yet to confirm the nomination.
Keisler's resignation comes on the heels of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation [JURIST report] last month, though there is no indication that Keisler's resignation is related. Several other top DOJ officials have also resigned recently, including the head of the DOJ's civil rights division [JURIST report]. AP has more. The Baltimore Sun has additional coverage.