The position of Solicitor General of the United States was created in 1870 by Congress in the Act to Establish the Department of Justice. The law provides for “an officer learned in the law, to assist the Attorney-General in the performance of his duties, to be called the solicitor-general.” The Department of Justice’s short history of the position notes that the Solicitor General was originally second-in-command to the Attorney General. While the Solicitor General no longer holds that distinction, he or she wields enormous authority and influence in the development of legal policy in America’s courts, which is why the Solicitor General is often referred to as the “Tenth Justice.”
Yesterday, President Obama nominated White House Deputy Counsel Donald Verrilli Jr. to replace Justice Elena Kagan as Solicitor General. Don without question meets the requirement of an individual “learned in the law.” His law practice at Jenner & Block was focused on appellate advocacy and, as Marcia Coyle writes at the Blog of Legal Times, “His cases have ranged from the intricacies of intellectual property, such as his defense of music industry copyrights in 2005, to the complexities of the death penalty, such as his pro bono work in Wiggins v. Smith.”
WLF is proud to have benefited from Don’s generous donation of his time and expertise. He appeared on several occasions as a featured speaker at our Media Nosh events on the U.S. Supreme Court and its free enterprise cases; spoke at a Web Seminar program on securities fraud litigation; represented WLF on a pro bono basis on an amicus brief we filed supporting a cert petition in a Commerce Clause case; and authored two instructive WLF Legal Backgrounders on Supreme Court decisions.