Douglas Kmiec, the Pepperdine University law professor who once served in the Reagan administration, has been named to serve as U.S. ambassador to Malta, the White House announced July 2. The Republic of Malta, with a population of slightly more than 400,000, is an archipelago of seven islands situated off the cost of Sicily. The official state religion of Malta is Roman Catholic, and about 98 percent of the country’s residents identify themselves as Catholic. Kmiec, who was once law school dean at the Catholic University of America and a longtime law professor at Notre Dame University, worked in the Reagan administration and was long considered a conservative legal scholar. Kmiec also worked in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.