After his secondary education at The Roxbury Latin School, Astrue earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University, where he served as President of the Yale Political Union, and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.
Astrue, who previously served in the Social Security Administration as Counselor to the Commissioner, served in the US Department of Health and Human Services as General Counsel and as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Leigislation. He also served as Associate Counsel to the President of the United States at the White House in the Reagan and George Bush Sr administrations. In the private sector, he practiced law and was as a senior executive at several biotechnology companies.
Astrue was nominated as Commissioner of the Social Security Administration by President George W. Bush on September 14, 2006 and confirmed by the US Senate on February 2, 2007. He was sworn in on February 12, 2007 to serve a six-year term.
In the June/July 2010 issue of First Things magazine, Astrue was profiled by poet Paul Mariani, who revealed him as the personage behind the pseudonym and anagram A. M. Juster, the poet and translator associated with New Formalism.
As Juster, Astrue has published a book of Petrarch translations, a translation of The Satires of Horace (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) , Longing for Laura (Birch Brook Press, 2001), and a book of original poetry, The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville 2003). Juster was also the first moderator for Eratosphere, the largest on-line site for formal poetry.
2002 Richard Wilbur Award, for The Secret Language of Women selected by Rachel Hadas
Please flood her nerves with sedatives
and keep her strong enough to crack a smile
so disbelieving friends and relatives
Narcissus, I no longer haunt the canyons
and the crypts. I thrive and multiply;
uncounted daughters are my new companions.
Foolish artist, why must you sketch my face
And hound a goddess eyes cannot detect?
I am the daughter born of Speech and Space,
Babble's mother, a voiceless intellect.