The federal government’s chief appellate advocate has announced his plans to step down.
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has frequently argued on the government’s behalf before federal courts – including 49 appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court – will step down in early June, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.
“I will miss not only Paul’s superb advocacy on behalf of the United States, but also his wise counsel and keen legal analysis,” Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in the Justice Department announcement.
A longtime conservative and former clerk of Justice Antonin Scalia, Clement developed a reputation for seeking the middle road in order to build consensus.
This year Clement drew fire for his stance in the pending Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller. In the government’s amicus brief, rather than adopt the White House’s hard-line view that the Second Amendment precluded handgun bans, Clement’s brief urged the high court to remand the case back to the lower court first to determine to what extent such a rule would thwart federal gun control efforts.
Clement, 41, has not announced what his plans will be after his June 2 departure.
Clement’s is the latest in a series of announced Justice Department departures as the Bush Administration draws to a close.