Obama attends memorial service for former adviser, classmate

AP News
Posted: Jun 07, 2016 8:28 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Describing her as his moral compass as well as a Swiss-Army knife who could do a little bit of everything, President Barack Obama commemorated on Tuesday a former Harvard Law School classmate and adviser, Cassandra Butts, who died May 25 from leukemia at age 50.

Butts served in the Obama administration in its earliest days, providing legal advice to his transition team and then working as deputy White House counsel focused on judicial nominations. The North Carolinian also served as senior adviser at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an agency that fights global poverty. Obama nominated her to be the ambassador to the Bahamas. But the Senate did not act on the nomination.

Obama celebrated Butts' life at a memorial service, along with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. and hundreds of others at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington.

Obama described Butts as a warrior for social justice, a warm and generous servant devoted to bettering the lives of others.

"She was as true a person as I ever met and I loved her dearly and I will miss her badly," said Obama, who attended the memorial with first lady Michelle Obama.