President Trump has picked Noel Francisco to be his Solicitor General, the administration announced yesterday. The Solicitor General serves as the government's voice in the Supreme Court, representing the federal government's position before the Court. As such, the SG is often aptly referred to as the "Tenth Justice."
Francisco, a former Jones Day partner, is currently serving as acting solicitor general. His nomination to the permanent post should mark the end of the administration's long, winding search for an SG.
Meet Noel Francisco
Noel Francisco, 47, is no stranger to the Supreme Court. After getting his J.D. from the University of Chicago, Francisco went on to clerk for the Fourth Circuit's Judge J. Michael Luttig, and then for Justice Scalia.
After his stint as a Supreme Court clerk, Francisco moved into the political realm. He worked alongside Ted Cruz on George W. Bush's 2000 Florida recount, Politico reports. He then joined Bush in the executive branch, serving in the White House Counsel's office and the Department of Justice.
From there, Francisco entered private practice, working for Jones Day. At Jones Day, he argued repeatedly before the Supreme Court, including in some particularly high-profile cases. Francisco argued for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, for example, as the governor successfully challenged his bribery conviction. He also represented religious nonprofits in Zubik v. Burwell, as they challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare's contraception requirements.
Finally, an SG
The Trump administration's search for a solicitor general has been a long one. It originally focused on Charles J. Cooper, a D.C. attorney and close friend to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But Cooper wasn't interested, withdrawing his name almost a month ago, after seeing Session's bruising nomination hearings. "I am unwilling to subject myself, my family, and my friends to such a process," Cooper announced.
After Cooper, attention focused on George T. Conway, husband to Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's closest advisors. Other attorneys under consideration included Kannon Shanmugam, Christopher Landau, John Eastman, and Miguel Estrada. (Though Above the Law's David Lat, who broke the news of Francisco's nomination, now says Estrada was never seriously in the running.)
But Trump ended up staying closer to home, choosing his acting SG to take the permanent position.
- Trump to Nominate Francisco as U.S. Solicitor General (Reuters)
- Are SCOTUS Justices and the Solicitor General Email Pals? (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- Will Obamacare's Contraception Rules Survive the Supreme Court? (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- Did the Department of Justice Flat Out Lie to the Supreme Court? (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)