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May 13, 2010

The latest buzz on who might replace Kagan as Solicitor General

Tony Mauro has this notable new piece in the National Law Journal headlined "Jockeying Begins for Solicitor General Job." Here are excerpts:

Just days after President Barack Obama announced he will nominate Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, speculation is already swirling about who will replace her as solicitor general, with names including Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire reportedly on a White House short list for the post.

Also being mentioned as possible contenders are current principal deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal, former Jenner & Block partner Donald Verrilli, current Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel partner David Frederick, former New York solicitor general Preeta Bansal, former Morrison & Foerster partner Beth Brinkmann and partner Patricia Millett of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

The National Journal reported today that Gregoire, a former state attorney general who has argued before the high court, is also under consideration. By tradition, the principal deputy often succeeds a departing SG. But this time around there appears to be a lot of jockeying for the post.

"There is no shortage of people who want that job," said Lisa Blatt, head of Arnold & Porter's appellate and Supreme Court practice, and a 13-year veteran of the SG's office. She overlapped with Kagan briefly. "For people who love the Supreme Court, there's nothing more thrilling, nothing more of an honor."...

Most of those being talked about have already had experience in the SG's office and in private practice as well. Verrilli, who left Jenner to become associate deputy AG in the Obama administration and is now a senior counsel in the White House, did not work in the SG's office. But he has lengthy experience as a high court advocate for both corporate and pro bono clients as we noted in this 2007 profile. Frederick left the SG's office in 2001 and recently has developed a specialty representing victorious consumers in pre-emption cases before the Supreme Court, described here. Bansal, formerly a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York is general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, and Brinkmann is now a deputy assistant attorney general heading the civil appellate division of the Justice Department. Gregoire served as Washington's attorney general for 12 years before becoming governor in 2004, and argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kagan is expected to continue in her current position until the Senate votes on her conformation, though the White House indicates she will not work on new cases -- effectively making Katyal the acting SG in those instances. It is not clear whether a nomination for solicitor general would be made before Kagan is voted on.

May 13, 2010 at 09:22 AM | Permalink


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Preeta Bansal is a natural choice, and it would set her up to be a Supreme Court nominee in Obama's second term (the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, as my mother-in-law says).

Posted by: NCProsecutor | May 13, 2010 9:39:19 AM

I am a professional and I agree with the points you explore here. Preta Bansal seems to be a natural choice.

Posted by: solicitor liverpool | May 13, 2010 9:58:41 AM

Patricia Millett would also qualify (or does she prefer to get a salary that is finally, after years of DOJ service, more appropriate to her talents) ...

Posted by: Ed Unneland | May 13, 2010 1:49:03 PM

I am a professional and I alwyas agree with the points you explore here. Preta Bansal seems to be a natural choice.

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