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Overview:
One of the top officials in the Department of Justice, the United States Solicitor General represents the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court. The solicitor general also decides when the United States should appeal a case it has lost in lower federal and state courts, when it should file a brief amicus curiae and when the United States should intervene to defend the constitutionality of an act of Congress. During the years of the Bush administration, the solicitor general has been deeply involved in legal proceedings designed to expand the White House’s efforts to spy on and indefinitely jail terrorism suspects.
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History:
As part of the first four cabinet positions to assist the President, the US Attorney General was established under the Judiciary Act of 1789. The act provided that the AG “prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned.” Unlike the other cabinet posts, the AG was not in charge of a department (the Department of Justice would be created later), and the nation’s top legal officer was not given any staff during its first few decades.
 
After several failed attempts to convince Congress to expand the office of the Attorney General, legislation was adopted in 1829. But the measure, led by Senator Daniel Webster, did not bolster the capability of the AG. Instead, it created a Solicitor of the Treasury with authority over all Treasury lawsuits and to provide rules for the district attorneys around the country to follow in regard to all civil litigation in which the United States was a party.
 
Supporters of the AG were not happy with Webster’s legislation and continued over the next several decades to advocate, both in Congress and for a presidential executive order, to give greater legal authority to the Attorney General, including placing the oversight of the district attorneys under the AG.
 
In June 1868 Congress authorized the Attorney General to control all government litigation in the Court of Claims and provided for the creation of two Assistant Attorneys General and additional clerical staff. Two years later, lawmakers established the Department of Justice, which further expanded the legal operations and authority of the AG. Included in the new Justice Department was the position of solicitor general, designated to represent the United States in court.
 
The first men to serve as solicitor general argued dozens of cases before the US Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government. These duties took up so much time that the solicitor general was unable to address legal matters in lower courts. To fix this shortcoming, Congress in 1930 created the position of assistant solicitor general to relieve some of the legal duties of the solicitor general. Later, the position of assistant solicitor general was renamed the assistant attorney general for legal counsel.
 
In time, the responsibility of representing the US government in lower courts was moved entirely out of the solicitor general’s office, along with other administrative duties with which it was originally charged. However, the solicitor general has not lacked for work. In 1998, the office handled 2,800 cases before the US Supreme Court.

 

The Solicitor General in Historical Context

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What it Does:
The United States Solicitor General functions as the federal government’s trial lawyer in matters before the US Supreme Court. In addition to this function, the solicitor general decides when the United States should appeal a case it has lost in lower federal and state courts, when it should file a brief amicus curiae and when the United States should intervene to defend the constitutionality of an act of Congress. The United States is involved in approximately two-thirds of all the cases the US Supreme Court hears each year.
 
The solicitor general is the fourth-ranking officer in the US Justice Department behind the US Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.
 
The Office of the Solicitor General consists of four deputy solicitors general and 17 assistants to the solicitor general, as well as support staff, who participate in preparing the petitions, briefs and other papers filed by the government in the Supreme Court. The solicitor general conducts the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Those cases not argued by the solicitor general personally are assigned either to an assistant to the solicitor general or to another government attorney. The vast majority of government cases are argued by the solicitor general or one of the office attorneys.
 

The solicitor general has been nicknamed the “10th justice” because of the amount of time he spends before the Supreme Court and the frequent interactions between staffs of both the court and the solicitor’s office. As a result of the time spent arguing before the highest court in the land, the solicitor general is considered to be among the most influential and knowledgeable people about the Supreme Court and constitutional law, other than the justices themselves. Many in the legal world consider the solicitor general to be the highest office that a practicing trial lawyer can attain in the United States—even higher than the Attorney General, which is regarded more as a political job.

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Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:
Olson Presents Case for Secret Wire Taps
Created in 1978, the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not conduct its first formal hearing until 2002, at the request of the Bush administration. Leading a high-powered group of attorneys and administration officials was then Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who pleaded for permission to expand the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow prosecutors and local law enforcement agencies to be involved in the administration’s surveillance program of suspected terrorists and to have access to confidential information.
 
Olson also argued that by approving the administration’s surveillance requests, the FISC would help law enforcement uncover information about suspects that, even if it was unrelated to terrorism, might be useful to blackmail or intimidate a terrorism suspect into cooperating with the authorities.
 
The solicitor general further asked for the court to allow an important change in the wording of warrants that could have allowed the government to greatly expand its spying targets. When the FISC judges questioned Olson on what the expanded surveillance powers would be used for, the solicitor general avoided answering directly, much to the frustration of one judge.
What is the Bush Administration Trying to Hide? (by David Wallechinsky, Huffington Post)
 
America a Battlefield, Says Clement
As part of the Bush administration’s hard-line approach with suspected terrorists in custody, Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before a federal appeals court in 2005 that the federal government was within its legal rights to jail a US citizen indefinitely. The matter involved Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, who was taken into custody by the military on June 9, 2002, and had been held without trial ever since.
 
The judges who heard the case were concerned with how to handle Padilla in light of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Yaser Esam Hamdi, a US citizen who was captured by the military with Taliban forces in Afghanistan and placed in a Navy brig in Norfolk. The Supreme Court ruled that his detention was lawful, but that he was entitled to a hearing to challenge the allegations against him.
 
While making his oral argument, Clement was interrupted by Judge Michael Luttig who cited the Hamdi decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, saying that case involved a battlefield detention, while the Padilla case did not. Clement disagreed, prompting Luttig to state, “Those accusations don’t get you very far unless you’re prepared to boldly say the United States is a battlefield in the war on terror.”
 
To which Clement answered, “I can say that, and I can say it boldly.”
U.S. a Battlefield, Solicitor General Tells Judges (by Tom Jackman, Washington Post)
 
Solicitor General under Fire Over Gun Case
In March 2008, Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before the US Supreme Court that a case involving Washington DC’s toughest-in-the-nation gun control law should be returned to a lower appeals court for another review. The law, which banned all handguns in the district and required larger weapons such as rifles to be disassembled, was struck down in DC v. Heller by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
 
Gun owners and their supporters, such as the National Rifle Association and the Bush administration, applauded the decision. But Clement argued before the Supreme Court that the appellate court took too “categorical” an approach, one that threatened the constitutionality of federal gun laws, like the current ban on machine guns. Thus, Clement asked the justices to vacate the decision and send the case back to the appeals court for a more “nuanced appraisal” of the issue.
 
The brief that Clement filed before the Supreme Court made it clear that the solicitor general considered the DC gun control law unconstitutional. But this was not enough to keep high level officials in the Bush administration from complaining about Clement’s actions in the case. Vice President Dick Cheney was reportedly so upset
that he took the unusual step for a vice president of signing on to a brief filed by more than 300 members of Congress that asked the Supreme Court to declare the District of Columbia law “unconstitutional per se” (Clement’s brief said that a per se rule was inappropriate in the context of the Second Amendment).
 
The conservative columnist Robert D. Novak, who often served as a conduit for views from inside the Bush administration, wrote that Clement was being pressured within the administration to alter his argument before facing the justices. Clement did not. Two months later, though, Clement did announce his intention to retire.
Gun Case Causes Bush Administration Rift (by Linda Greenhouse, New York Times)
Moving Targets (by Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

Gun Battle at the White House? (by Robert D. Novak, Washington Post)

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Former Directors:
 
Paul D. Clement (June 2005 to June 2008) 
A native of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, Paul D. Clement served as the 43rd Solicitor General from June 2005 to June 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.
 
Following graduation, Clement clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he worked as an associate in the Washington, DC office of Kirkland & Ellis. Clement went on to serve as chief counsel of the US Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights. Afterwards, he was a partner in the Washington, DC office of King & Spalding, where he headed the firm’s appellate practice. Clement also served from 1998 to 2004 as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, taught a seminar on the separation of powers.
 
Clement joined the Department of Justice in February of 2001. Before his confirmation as solicitor general, he served as acting solicitor general for nearly a year and as principal deputy solicitor general. He has argued 49 cases before the US Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, United States v. Booker and Gonzales v. Raich.
 
 
 
Theodore B. Olson (June 2001 to July 2004)
 
A native of Chicago, IL, Theodore B. Olson was the 42nd Solicitor General of the United States. Olson received his bachelor’s degree cum laude from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, where he received awards as the outstanding graduating student in both journalism and forensics, and his law degree from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where he was a member of the California Law Review and Order of the Coif.
 
Olson was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he practiced constitutional, media, commercial and appellate litigation, before serving as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1981 to 1984 during the Reagan administration. During that time, Olson was part of a scandal involving Justice Department lawyers who told officials at the Environmental Protection Agency that they could withhold evidence from Congressional investigators.
 
After leaving the administration, Olson returned to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in its Washington, DC office, engaging in the practice of constitutional and appellate law and general litigation and serving as partner-in-charge of that office on the firm’s executive and management committees and as co-chair of the firm’s appellate and constitutional law practice group. Olson was also accused of being involved in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against President Bill Clinton.
 
Before joining the Bush administration as Solicitor General, Olson successfully represented candidates George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before the US Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, a case that helped decide the 2000 presidential election in favor of Bush.
 
While serving as Solicitor General, Olson argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including those involving constitutional and federal statutory issues regarding copyright, telecommunications, federal securities regulation, antitrust, the environment, school vouchers, the Internet, the 2000 census, property rights, punitive damages, criminal law, immigration, the right to a jury trial, due process, voting rights, equal protection, separation of powers, the ex post facto clause, the speech, press and religion clauses of the First Amendment, the powers of the President, and the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.
 
Olson is a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He is also a founding member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. He has written and lectured extensively on appellate advocacy, oral advocacy in the courtroom and constitutional law.
 
Since leaving the Solicitor General’s office, Olson has returned to private practice, helping to represent the state of Rhode Island in a Native American land case for $200,000 and a mining company in West Virginia.
 

Profile of a right-wing conspirator (by Martin McLaughlin, World Socialist)

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Comments

John Kulesa 4 years ago
In a battle right now in Court of Commonpleas in Norristown,Pa. concerning "The Conspiracy Of the Commonwealth Judges" Judges involved are Patricia Coonahan,Thomas Delricci,Arthur Tilson, Thomas Rogers,Thomas Branca, Carolyn Carluccio. www.StopFamilyCourtAbuse.com (20) Officials served Federal LAwsuit Summons including Montgomery County D.A. Risa Furman (2) Federal Lawsuits pending against these Commonweath Court Judges "Gouchin v Wall" "Kulesa v Rex"
Michael Bostick 5 years ago
i filed a complaint with the attorney general of michigan against ford motor company for consumer fraud. i purchased a 2003 ford taurus, new at the time, october 2003. i april of 2008, the transmission failed. i purchased an extended warranty when i bought the car and it had expired in october 2008.when i requested honolulu ford repair the transmission in april 2008, they claimed the warranty expired in february 2008. ford lied and i have proof. the repair of the transmission and co...
madeleine sloan 5 years ago
3/23/12 this comment is for paul clement. i assume he is " the " paul clement who will present the case against obama care to the supreme court. godspeed, may you be victorious, hence preserving the constitution and the rights of all u.s. citizens as our forefathers envisioned them.

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Founded: 1870
Annual Budget: $9.8 million
Employees: 48
Official Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/
Office of the Solicitor General
Francisco, Noel
Acting Solicitor General of the United States

Noel J. Francisco, an attorney who worked in the George W. Bush administration, was nominated on March 7, 2017, to be solicitor general. Francisco has been serving as acting solicitor general since Donald Trump appointed him to the position on January 23, which made him the Trump administration’s chief litigator until the U.S. Senate decides whether to confirm the nomination.

 

Francisco is from Oswego, New York. He played trombone in the Oswego High School band and graduated from the school in 1987. He went to the University of Chicago, earning a B.A. in economics in 1991 and his law degree there in 1996. After graduation, he clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and then for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

 

Francisco worked for Cooper, Carvin and Rosenthal in Washington before joining the Bush administration in 2001 as associate counsel to Bush. Two years later, Francisco moved over to the Justice Department as deputy assistant attorney general. He held that job when Bush nominated Harriet Miers to be a Supreme Court justice. Francisco was a strong advocate for Miers, telling radio host Hugh Hewett: “I think the world of Harriet Miers. I think that Harriet is the fulfillment of the president's promise, yet again, to put forward individuals who are going to strictly apply the laws, and not make it up as they go along.” Miers’ nomination was eventually withdrawn after opposition from both sides of the aisle.

 

Francisco left government for the Jones Day law firm and became the head of the firm’s government regulation practice. There, he proved to be a thorn in the side of Democrats. He argued the case of Zubik vs. Burwell, fighting the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act and got the Supreme Court to strike down President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. He represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in its successful First Amendment challenge to a federal regulation requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warning images on cigarette packages and statements correcting misleading information spread by the company. Francisco also won the appeal of former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who’d been convicted of taking bribes from someone who wanted his product promoted in state government. Francisco persuaded the court that while McDonnell had taken the goodies, including a Rolex watch, it couldn’t be proven that he’d done what was asked of him. And he represented the International Coal Group during a congressional investigation into the January 2, 2006, Sago Mine accident in West Virginia. 

 

Francisco quickly found himself in the midst of a prominent case as acting solicitor general when he had to take the government’s side in arguing that Trump’s travel ban should be implemented. In a brief, he argued that “The power to expel or exclude aliens is a fundamental sovereign attribute, delegated by Congress to the executive branch of government and largely immune from judicial control.” When a partner of his former employer, Jones Day, filed an amicus brief opposing the order, Francisco was forced recuse himself from further involvement in the case.

 

Francisco is a close personal friend of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). During the Florida recount following the disputed 2000 presidential election, Francisco helped Cruz prepare legal arguments to support the case in favor of George W. Bush.

 

In March 2002, Francisco and his wife, moved by the concept of international adoption, adopted a girl, Caroline, from Russia, “to show we're citizens of the world.”

-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

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Gershengorn, Ian Heath
Previous Acting Solicitor General of the United States

Ian Heath Gershengorn was named acting solicitor general of the United States in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 2, 2016. His appointment to run the Office of the Solicitor General became effective on June 25, 2016. He served in this position until Donald Trump became U.S. president, after which he was replaced by Noel Francisco.

 

Gershengorn was born on February 21, 1967, in New York City. He and his two sisters were raised on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, by his father, Brookline cardiologist Kenneth Gershengorn, and his mother, Wendie Gershengorn, who was a Massachusetts state superior court judge (retired in 2011). Young Gershengorn received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1988, and his J.D. magna cum laude in 1993 from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and played pickup basketball games with fellow law student Barack Obama.

 

Gershengorn’s first job after college was law clerk, serving in 1993 for Judge Amalya L. Kearse of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then, in 1994, for Associate Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

From 1995 to 1997, Gershengorn tackled civil rights matters while serving in the Justice Department under the Clinton administration as special assistant and counsel to Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, and then as assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno. He subsequently joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Jenner & Block, working in its litigation department and focusing on constitutional and telecommunications law, and Indian sovereignty disputes. He worked his way up to becoming firm partner and a member of both its communications practice and appellate and Supreme Court practice.

 

In 2009, the leadership of the Justice Department decided on Gershengorn as someone it wanted to bring on board to handle health care law litigation in the lower courts. So on April 13, DOJ associate attorney general Thomas J. Perrelli recruited Gershengorn—pulling him straight out of his law firm, complete with a cut in pay—to return to the DOJ, this time to serve as a deputy assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Division. (Jenner & Block proved to be a rich resource for the DOJ, providing it with not only Gershengorn, but his recruiter Perrelli—a former managing partner at the firm—and Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who went on to become the man Gershenborn would replace in 2016 as U.S. solicitor general.)

 

Gershengorn’s primary responsibility at the DOJ’s civil branch was to oversee the 130 attorneys that make up the Federal Programs Branch, whose task is to litigate on behalf of federal agencies and officials, including the president and the members of his cabinet. Among the cases that Gershengorn supervised—and often personally argued in court—was the Obama administration’s defense of the Affordable Care Act against dozens of challenges filed against it across the country. Other high-profile court battles involved the rights of Guantánamo detainees, policy on gays in the military, embryonic stem cell research, and state secrets. “Every day, I deal with two or three cases of a lifetime,” he then told The New York Times.

 

On August 9, 2013, Gershengorn was appointed principal deputy solicitor general for the United States, which placed him before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue cases on 10 occasions over the course of nearly three years. The cases involved issues involving constitutionality of prayer in town council meetings, state interference with abortion clinic operations, and a company’s claim of a right to refuse employment to a woman because of the religious head scarf she wore.

 

A Democrat, Gershengorn has said that he doesn’t consider himself particularly partisan, but in interviews he’s made clear his passion for working on behalf of the U.S. government. That’s clearly shared by those around him, as his Justice Department roots run through much of his family tree: his two sisters have also worked as lawyers for the DOJ. And Gershengorn’s wife, Gail, is, like her husband, a graduate of Harvard Law School who also worked as a trial lawyer in the DOJ’s Federal Programs Branch. The couple has three sons.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More

Long Road for Lawyer Defending the Health Care Law (by Kevin Sack, New York Times)

When Is a Warrantless and Suspicionless Search of a Bus Passenger “Consensual”? (by Ian Heath Gershengorn, American Bar Association) (pdf)

Official Biography

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Bookmark and Share
Overview:
One of the top officials in the Department of Justice, the United States Solicitor General represents the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court. The solicitor general also decides when the United States should appeal a case it has lost in lower federal and state courts, when it should file a brief amicus curiae and when the United States should intervene to defend the constitutionality of an act of Congress. During the years of the Bush administration, the solicitor general has been deeply involved in legal proceedings designed to expand the White House’s efforts to spy on and indefinitely jail terrorism suspects.
more
History:
As part of the first four cabinet positions to assist the President, the US Attorney General was established under the Judiciary Act of 1789. The act provided that the AG “prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned.” Unlike the other cabinet posts, the AG was not in charge of a department (the Department of Justice would be created later), and the nation’s top legal officer was not given any staff during its first few decades.
 
After several failed attempts to convince Congress to expand the office of the Attorney General, legislation was adopted in 1829. But the measure, led by Senator Daniel Webster, did not bolster the capability of the AG. Instead, it created a Solicitor of the Treasury with authority over all Treasury lawsuits and to provide rules for the district attorneys around the country to follow in regard to all civil litigation in which the United States was a party.
 
Supporters of the AG were not happy with Webster’s legislation and continued over the next several decades to advocate, both in Congress and for a presidential executive order, to give greater legal authority to the Attorney General, including placing the oversight of the district attorneys under the AG.
 
In June 1868 Congress authorized the Attorney General to control all government litigation in the Court of Claims and provided for the creation of two Assistant Attorneys General and additional clerical staff. Two years later, lawmakers established the Department of Justice, which further expanded the legal operations and authority of the AG. Included in the new Justice Department was the position of solicitor general, designated to represent the United States in court.
 
The first men to serve as solicitor general argued dozens of cases before the US Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government. These duties took up so much time that the solicitor general was unable to address legal matters in lower courts. To fix this shortcoming, Congress in 1930 created the position of assistant solicitor general to relieve some of the legal duties of the solicitor general. Later, the position of assistant solicitor general was renamed the assistant attorney general for legal counsel.
 
In time, the responsibility of representing the US government in lower courts was moved entirely out of the solicitor general’s office, along with other administrative duties with which it was originally charged. However, the solicitor general has not lacked for work. In 1998, the office handled 2,800 cases before the US Supreme Court.

 

The Solicitor General in Historical Context

more
What it Does:
The United States Solicitor General functions as the federal government’s trial lawyer in matters before the US Supreme Court. In addition to this function, the solicitor general decides when the United States should appeal a case it has lost in lower federal and state courts, when it should file a brief amicus curiae and when the United States should intervene to defend the constitutionality of an act of Congress. The United States is involved in approximately two-thirds of all the cases the US Supreme Court hears each year.
 
The solicitor general is the fourth-ranking officer in the US Justice Department behind the US Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.
 
The Office of the Solicitor General consists of four deputy solicitors general and 17 assistants to the solicitor general, as well as support staff, who participate in preparing the petitions, briefs and other papers filed by the government in the Supreme Court. The solicitor general conducts the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Those cases not argued by the solicitor general personally are assigned either to an assistant to the solicitor general or to another government attorney. The vast majority of government cases are argued by the solicitor general or one of the office attorneys.
 

The solicitor general has been nicknamed the “10th justice” because of the amount of time he spends before the Supreme Court and the frequent interactions between staffs of both the court and the solicitor’s office. As a result of the time spent arguing before the highest court in the land, the solicitor general is considered to be among the most influential and knowledgeable people about the Supreme Court and constitutional law, other than the justices themselves. Many in the legal world consider the solicitor general to be the highest office that a practicing trial lawyer can attain in the United States—even higher than the Attorney General, which is regarded more as a political job.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:
Olson Presents Case for Secret Wire Taps
Created in 1978, the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not conduct its first formal hearing until 2002, at the request of the Bush administration. Leading a high-powered group of attorneys and administration officials was then Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who pleaded for permission to expand the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow prosecutors and local law enforcement agencies to be involved in the administration’s surveillance program of suspected terrorists and to have access to confidential information.
 
Olson also argued that by approving the administration’s surveillance requests, the FISC would help law enforcement uncover information about suspects that, even if it was unrelated to terrorism, might be useful to blackmail or intimidate a terrorism suspect into cooperating with the authorities.
 
The solicitor general further asked for the court to allow an important change in the wording of warrants that could have allowed the government to greatly expand its spying targets. When the FISC judges questioned Olson on what the expanded surveillance powers would be used for, the solicitor general avoided answering directly, much to the frustration of one judge.
What is the Bush Administration Trying to Hide? (by David Wallechinsky, Huffington Post)
 
America a Battlefield, Says Clement
As part of the Bush administration’s hard-line approach with suspected terrorists in custody, Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before a federal appeals court in 2005 that the federal government was within its legal rights to jail a US citizen indefinitely. The matter involved Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, who was taken into custody by the military on June 9, 2002, and had been held without trial ever since.
 
The judges who heard the case were concerned with how to handle Padilla in light of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Yaser Esam Hamdi, a US citizen who was captured by the military with Taliban forces in Afghanistan and placed in a Navy brig in Norfolk. The Supreme Court ruled that his detention was lawful, but that he was entitled to a hearing to challenge the allegations against him.
 
While making his oral argument, Clement was interrupted by Judge Michael Luttig who cited the Hamdi decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, saying that case involved a battlefield detention, while the Padilla case did not. Clement disagreed, prompting Luttig to state, “Those accusations don’t get you very far unless you’re prepared to boldly say the United States is a battlefield in the war on terror.”
 
To which Clement answered, “I can say that, and I can say it boldly.”
U.S. a Battlefield, Solicitor General Tells Judges (by Tom Jackman, Washington Post)
 
Solicitor General under Fire Over Gun Case
In March 2008, Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before the US Supreme Court that a case involving Washington DC’s toughest-in-the-nation gun control law should be returned to a lower appeals court for another review. The law, which banned all handguns in the district and required larger weapons such as rifles to be disassembled, was struck down in DC v. Heller by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
 
Gun owners and their supporters, such as the National Rifle Association and the Bush administration, applauded the decision. But Clement argued before the Supreme Court that the appellate court took too “categorical” an approach, one that threatened the constitutionality of federal gun laws, like the current ban on machine guns. Thus, Clement asked the justices to vacate the decision and send the case back to the appeals court for a more “nuanced appraisal” of the issue.
 
The brief that Clement filed before the Supreme Court made it clear that the solicitor general considered the DC gun control law unconstitutional. But this was not enough to keep high level officials in the Bush administration from complaining about Clement’s actions in the case. Vice President Dick Cheney was reportedly so upset
that he took the unusual step for a vice president of signing on to a brief filed by more than 300 members of Congress that asked the Supreme Court to declare the District of Columbia law “unconstitutional per se” (Clement’s brief said that a per se rule was inappropriate in the context of the Second Amendment).
 
The conservative columnist Robert D. Novak, who often served as a conduit for views from inside the Bush administration, wrote that Clement was being pressured within the administration to alter his argument before facing the justices. Clement did not. Two months later, though, Clement did announce his intention to retire.
Gun Case Causes Bush Administration Rift (by Linda Greenhouse, New York Times)
Moving Targets (by Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

Gun Battle at the White House? (by Robert D. Novak, Washington Post)

more
Former Directors:
 
Paul D. Clement (June 2005 to June 2008) 
A native of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, Paul D. Clement served as the 43rd Solicitor General from June 2005 to June 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.
 
Following graduation, Clement clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he worked as an associate in the Washington, DC office of Kirkland & Ellis. Clement went on to serve as chief counsel of the US Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights. Afterwards, he was a partner in the Washington, DC office of King & Spalding, where he headed the firm’s appellate practice. Clement also served from 1998 to 2004 as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, taught a seminar on the separation of powers.
 
Clement joined the Department of Justice in February of 2001. Before his confirmation as solicitor general, he served as acting solicitor general for nearly a year and as principal deputy solicitor general. He has argued 49 cases before the US Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, United States v. Booker and Gonzales v. Raich.
 
 
 
Theodore B. Olson (June 2001 to July 2004)
 
A native of Chicago, IL, Theodore B. Olson was the 42nd Solicitor General of the United States. Olson received his bachelor’s degree cum laude from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, where he received awards as the outstanding graduating student in both journalism and forensics, and his law degree from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where he was a member of the California Law Review and Order of the Coif.
 
Olson was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he practiced constitutional, media, commercial and appellate litigation, before serving as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1981 to 1984 during the Reagan administration. During that time, Olson was part of a scandal involving Justice Department lawyers who told officials at the Environmental Protection Agency that they could withhold evidence from Congressional investigators.
 
After leaving the administration, Olson returned to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in its Washington, DC office, engaging in the practice of constitutional and appellate law and general litigation and serving as partner-in-charge of that office on the firm’s executive and management committees and as co-chair of the firm’s appellate and constitutional law practice group. Olson was also accused of being involved in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against President Bill Clinton.
 
Before joining the Bush administration as Solicitor General, Olson successfully represented candidates George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before the US Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, a case that helped decide the 2000 presidential election in favor of Bush.
 
While serving as Solicitor General, Olson argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including those involving constitutional and federal statutory issues regarding copyright, telecommunications, federal securities regulation, antitrust, the environment, school vouchers, the Internet, the 2000 census, property rights, punitive damages, criminal law, immigration, the right to a jury trial, due process, voting rights, equal protection, separation of powers, the ex post facto clause, the speech, press and religion clauses of the First Amendment, the powers of the President, and the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.
 
Olson is a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He is also a founding member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. He has written and lectured extensively on appellate advocacy, oral advocacy in the courtroom and constitutional law.
 
Since leaving the Solicitor General’s office, Olson has returned to private practice, helping to represent the state of Rhode Island in a Native American land case for $200,000 and a mining company in West Virginia.
 

Profile of a right-wing conspirator (by Martin McLaughlin, World Socialist)

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John Kulesa 4 years ago
In a battle right now in Court of Commonpleas in Norristown,Pa. concerning "The Conspiracy Of the Commonwealth Judges" Judges involved are Patricia Coonahan,Thomas Delricci,Arthur Tilson, Thomas Rogers,Thomas Branca, Carolyn Carluccio. www.StopFamilyCourtAbuse.com (20) Officials served Federal LAwsuit Summons including Montgomery County D.A. Risa Furman (2) Federal Lawsuits pending against these Commonweath Court Judges "Gouchin v Wall" "Kulesa v Rex"
Michael Bostick 5 years ago
i filed a complaint with the attorney general of michigan against ford motor company for consumer fraud. i purchased a 2003 ford taurus, new at the time, october 2003. i april of 2008, the transmission failed. i purchased an extended warranty when i bought the car and it had expired in october 2008.when i requested honolulu ford repair the transmission in april 2008, they claimed the warranty expired in february 2008. ford lied and i have proof. the repair of the transmission and co...
madeleine sloan 5 years ago
3/23/12 this comment is for paul clement. i assume he is " the " paul clement who will present the case against obama care to the supreme court. godspeed, may you be victorious, hence preserving the constitution and the rights of all u.s. citizens as our forefathers envisioned them.

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Founded: 1870
Annual Budget: $9.8 million
Employees: 48
Official Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/
Office of the Solicitor General
Francisco, Noel
Acting Solicitor General of the United States

Noel J. Francisco, an attorney who worked in the George W. Bush administration, was nominated on March 7, 2017, to be solicitor general. Francisco has been serving as acting solicitor general since Donald Trump appointed him to the position on January 23, which made him the Trump administration’s chief litigator until the U.S. Senate decides whether to confirm the nomination.

 

Francisco is from Oswego, New York. He played trombone in the Oswego High School band and graduated from the school in 1987. He went to the University of Chicago, earning a B.A. in economics in 1991 and his law degree there in 1996. After graduation, he clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and then for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

 

Francisco worked for Cooper, Carvin and Rosenthal in Washington before joining the Bush administration in 2001 as associate counsel to Bush. Two years later, Francisco moved over to the Justice Department as deputy assistant attorney general. He held that job when Bush nominated Harriet Miers to be a Supreme Court justice. Francisco was a strong advocate for Miers, telling radio host Hugh Hewett: “I think the world of Harriet Miers. I think that Harriet is the fulfillment of the president's promise, yet again, to put forward individuals who are going to strictly apply the laws, and not make it up as they go along.” Miers’ nomination was eventually withdrawn after opposition from both sides of the aisle.

 

Francisco left government for the Jones Day law firm and became the head of the firm’s government regulation practice. There, he proved to be a thorn in the side of Democrats. He argued the case of Zubik vs. Burwell, fighting the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act and got the Supreme Court to strike down President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. He represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in its successful First Amendment challenge to a federal regulation requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warning images on cigarette packages and statements correcting misleading information spread by the company. Francisco also won the appeal of former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who’d been convicted of taking bribes from someone who wanted his product promoted in state government. Francisco persuaded the court that while McDonnell had taken the goodies, including a Rolex watch, it couldn’t be proven that he’d done what was asked of him. And he represented the International Coal Group during a congressional investigation into the January 2, 2006, Sago Mine accident in West Virginia. 

 

Francisco quickly found himself in the midst of a prominent case as acting solicitor general when he had to take the government’s side in arguing that Trump’s travel ban should be implemented. In a brief, he argued that “The power to expel or exclude aliens is a fundamental sovereign attribute, delegated by Congress to the executive branch of government and largely immune from judicial control.” When a partner of his former employer, Jones Day, filed an amicus brief opposing the order, Francisco was forced recuse himself from further involvement in the case.

 

Francisco is a close personal friend of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). During the Florida recount following the disputed 2000 presidential election, Francisco helped Cruz prepare legal arguments to support the case in favor of George W. Bush.

 

In March 2002, Francisco and his wife, moved by the concept of international adoption, adopted a girl, Caroline, from Russia, “to show we're citizens of the world.”

-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

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Gershengorn, Ian Heath
Previous Acting Solicitor General of the United States

Ian Heath Gershengorn was named acting solicitor general of the United States in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 2, 2016. His appointment to run the Office of the Solicitor General became effective on June 25, 2016. He served in this position until Donald Trump became U.S. president, after which he was replaced by Noel Francisco.

 

Gershengorn was born on February 21, 1967, in New York City. He and his two sisters were raised on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, by his father, Brookline cardiologist Kenneth Gershengorn, and his mother, Wendie Gershengorn, who was a Massachusetts state superior court judge (retired in 2011). Young Gershengorn received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1988, and his J.D. magna cum laude in 1993 from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and played pickup basketball games with fellow law student Barack Obama.

 

Gershengorn’s first job after college was law clerk, serving in 1993 for Judge Amalya L. Kearse of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then, in 1994, for Associate Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

From 1995 to 1997, Gershengorn tackled civil rights matters while serving in the Justice Department under the Clinton administration as special assistant and counsel to Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, and then as assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno. He subsequently joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Jenner & Block, working in its litigation department and focusing on constitutional and telecommunications law, and Indian sovereignty disputes. He worked his way up to becoming firm partner and a member of both its communications practice and appellate and Supreme Court practice.

 

In 2009, the leadership of the Justice Department decided on Gershengorn as someone it wanted to bring on board to handle health care law litigation in the lower courts. So on April 13, DOJ associate attorney general Thomas J. Perrelli recruited Gershengorn—pulling him straight out of his law firm, complete with a cut in pay—to return to the DOJ, this time to serve as a deputy assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Division. (Jenner & Block proved to be a rich resource for the DOJ, providing it with not only Gershengorn, but his recruiter Perrelli—a former managing partner at the firm—and Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who went on to become the man Gershenborn would replace in 2016 as U.S. solicitor general.)

 

Gershengorn’s primary responsibility at the DOJ’s civil branch was to oversee the 130 attorneys that make up the Federal Programs Branch, whose task is to litigate on behalf of federal agencies and officials, including the president and the members of his cabinet. Among the cases that Gershengorn supervised—and often personally argued in court—was the Obama administration’s defense of the Affordable Care Act against dozens of challenges filed against it across the country. Other high-profile court battles involved the rights of Guantánamo detainees, policy on gays in the military, embryonic stem cell research, and state secrets. “Every day, I deal with two or three cases of a lifetime,” he then told The New York Times.

 

On August 9, 2013, Gershengorn was appointed principal deputy solicitor general for the United States, which placed him before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue cases on 10 occasions over the course of nearly three years. The cases involved issues involving constitutionality of prayer in town council meetings, state interference with abortion clinic operations, and a company’s claim of a right to refuse employment to a woman because of the religious head scarf she wore.

 

A Democrat, Gershengorn has said that he doesn’t consider himself particularly partisan, but in interviews he’s made clear his passion for working on behalf of the U.S. government. That’s clearly shared by those around him, as his Justice Department roots run through much of his family tree: his two sisters have also worked as lawyers for the DOJ. And Gershengorn’s wife, Gail, is, like her husband, a graduate of Harvard Law School who also worked as a trial lawyer in the DOJ’s Federal Programs Branch. The couple has three sons.

-Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More

Long Road for Lawyer Defending the Health Care Law (by Kevin Sack, New York Times)

When Is a Warrantless and Suspicionless Search of a Bus Passenger “Consensual”? (by Ian Heath Gershengorn, American Bar Association) (pdf)

Official Biography

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