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United States Solicitor General

From Academic Kids

The United States Solicitor General is the individual tasked with arguing for the United States Government in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, when the government is party to a case.

The Solicitor General works within the United States Department of Justice; he or she is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The office of Solicitor General was founded in the late 1800's, and some traditions have been established. Whenever the Solicitor General argues a case before the Supreme Court he continues to wear late 19th century style dress, with striped pants, grey ascot, vest, and a cutaway morning coat, making him a very distinctive sight in the courtroom. Another, very substantive, tradition (that is possibly unique in United States) is the Solicitor General's right and practice of Confession of judgment in cases where he or she considers the Government's prior official position to be clearly unjust: he or she can just drop the case, even if the Government has already won in the lower courts.

Among lawyers and jurists, the office of United States Solicitor General is generally considered to be the highest practicing lawyer office in the United States.


Solicitors General Since 1870

Name
Date of Service Under which President
Benjamin H. Bristow
October 1870 - November 1872  Grant
Samuel F. Phillips  November 1872 - May 1885  Grant
John Goode (Acting)  May 1885 - August 1886  Cleveland
George A. Jenks July 1886 - May 1889  Cleveland
Orlow W. Chapman  May 1889 - January 1890  Harrison
William Howard Taft  February 1890 - March 1892  Harrison
Charles H. Aldrich  March 1892 - May 1893  Harrison
Lawrence Maxwell, Jr.  April 1893 - January 1895  Cleveland
Holmes Conrad  February 1895 - July 1897  Cleveland
John K. Richards  July 1897 - March 1903  McKinley
Henry M. Hoyt  February 1903 - March 1909  Roosevelt
Lloyd Wheaton Bowers  April 1909 - September 1910  Taft
Frederick W. Lehmann  December 1910 - July 1912  Taft
William Marshall Bullit  July 1912 - March 1913  Taft
John William Davis  August 1913 - November 1918  Wilson
Alexander C. King  November 1918 - May 1920  Wilson
William L. Frierson  June 1920 - June 1921  Wilson
James M. Beck June 1921 - June 1925  Harding
William D. Mitchell  June 1925 - March 1929  Coolidge
Charles Evans Hughes May 1929 - April 1930  Hoover
Thomas D. Thacher  March 1930 - May 1933  Hoover
James Crawford Biggs  May 1933 - March 1935  Roosevelt
Stanley F. Reed  March 1935 - January 1938  Roosevelt
Robert H. Jackson  March 1938 - January 1940  Roosevelt
Francis Biddle  January 1940 - September 1941  Roosevelt
Charles Fahy  November 1941 - September 1945  Roosevelt
J. Howard McGrath  October 1945 - October 1946  Truman
Philip B. Perlman  July 1947 - August 1952  Truman
Walter J. Cummings, Jr December 1952 - March 1953  Truman
Simon E. Sobeloff  February 1954 - July 1956  Dwight D. Eisenhower
J. Lee Rankin  August 1956 - January 1961  Dwight D. Eisenhower
Archibald Cox  January 1961 - July 1965  John F. Kennedy
Thurgood Marshall August 1965 - August 1967  Lyndon Johnson
Erwin N. Griswold October 1967 - June 1973  Lyndon Johnson
Robert H. Bork
June 1973 - January 1977  Richard Nixon
Wade H. McCree  March 1977 - August 1981  Jimmy Carter
Rex E. Lee August 1981 - June 1985  Ronald Reagan
Charles Fried October 1985 - January 1989 Ronald Reagan
Kenneth W. Starr  May 1989 - January 1993  George H. W. Bush
Drew S. Days, III May 1993 - July 1996  Bill Clinton
Seth P. Waxman  November 1997 - January 2001  Bill Clinton
Theodore B. Olson June 2001 - July 2004 George W. Bush
Paul D. Clement (acting) July 2004 - present George W. Bush

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