Deputy Counsel Nominated by Obama for Solicitor General

Deputy Counsel Nominated by Obama for Solicitor General

02/22/2011

A White House deputy counsel and famous litigator, Donal B. Verrilli Jr was nominated by President Obama on Monday to be solicitor general. The position is regarded as one of the most important on the administration legal team.

If the nomination is confirmed, Verrilli would have the authority to approve important briefs filed by the government in the ideologically-charged legal appeals. Some of these legal appeals involve lawsuits that challenge the ban on recognition of same-sex marriages.

It is also highly likely that Verrilli would appear in some of these appeals to personally argue major cases that are already on their way to the Supreme Court, such as the constitutionality of the health care law, if his nomination is looked upon with favor.

Verrilli is considered an expert in First Amendment, telecommunications, as well as intellectual property law. He has also argued 12 times before the Supreme Court, and around 35 times before the federal appeals courts and state supreme courts. His clients range from deep-pocket corporate interests to inmates on the death-row.

The nomination of Verrilli attracted support across political spectrum. Walter Dellinger, who was the acting solicitor general during the Clinton administration, said Mr. Verrilli was, “unquestionably among the best Supreme Court advocates of his time.”

Theodore B. Olson, the solicitor general during the Bush administration described Mr. Verrilli as, “intellectually sharp, exceedingly well prepared, well-liked by those he works with and the people who are his subordinates.”

Mr. Verrilli, now 53, joined the Justice Department as an associate deputy attorney general 2 years ago. His portfolio during that time included national-security matters, such as crafting policies that require high-level approval before government can invoke State Secrets Privilege. This is to shield and protect security information in lawsuits.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com