Obama picks new solicitor general

Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 25, 2011, 1:00pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - President Barack Obama announced on Monday he plans to nominate Donald B. Verrilli for Solicitor General.

If the nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Verrilli would fill Elena Kagan's former post. Kagan now serves on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The solicitor general is appointed to represent the federal government before the U.S. Supreme Court and determines the legal position the United States will take in those cases. Principal Deputy Neal Katyal is currently serving as Acting Solicitor General.

According to a press release from the White House, Verrilli currently serves as a deputy counsel to the President.

Previously, he served in the Department of Justice as an associate deputy attorney general, focusing on domestic and national security policy issues.

Prior to joining the Justice Department in February 2009, Verrilli was a litigator in private practice for more than 20 years in the D.C. office of the Jenner & Block law firm, where his practice focused on First Amendment, telecommunications and intellectual property law.

At Jenner & Block, he was co-chair of the firm's Supreme Court practice group from 2000 until his departure in 2009.

According to the White House, Verrilli has participated in more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has argued 12. He also has participated in approximately 90 cases in federal appellate courts and state supreme courts, arguing more than 30 of these appeals.

Verrilli also held numerous leadership positions at Jenner & Block, including serving as a member of the firm's governing Policy Committee and as chair of its Diversity Committee.

He also served for more than 15 years as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center, focusing on First Amendment law.

Verrilli received his law degree from Columbia Law School, where he was a Kent Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University.

Obama, on his plans to nominate Verrilli and David S. Cohen for Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, said in a statement Monday: "I am grateful these accomplished individuals have agreed to continue their service to the nation, and I'm confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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