We know what the next president will likely make at least one appointment to the Supreme Court in his first term. But that is not the only way the new administration will leave a mark on the Court.
As pointed out in this Bloomberg piece, before the president will have a chance to appoint a jurist to the high court he will make a selection for another high-power position: U.S. solicitor general.
It is the solicitor general who represents the United States – either as a party to a suit or as amicus curiae – in cases before the Supreme Court. The SG’s position as the nation’s top government litigator is taken quite seriously by members of the Court – so much so that the position is often referred to as “The 10th Justice.”
“It just is impossible to overstate the influence of the solicitor general’s office and their advocates and how much the justices look to them for guidance,” Supreme Court guru Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSBlog and Akin Gump told Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr.
A search of the OSG’s website shows that the current acting solicitor general, Gregory Garre, is a busy man. The SG’s office has submitted briefs – either as a party or amicus – in seven of the nine cases being argued before the Supreme Court next week alone.
Those cases deal with issues including: whether tobacco claims should be barred in state court based on federal preemption (SG says no); whether employees who are fired after participating in an employer’s internal discrimination investigation can bring Title VII retaliation claims (SG says yes); and whether a search conducted of a vehicle by police officers after the driver was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car violates the Fourth Amendment (SG says no).
(Some of the briefs were submitted during the tenure of former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who stepped down in June)
Even before the term began Garre joined the state of Lousiana in asking the court to rehear its decision banning the death penalty in child rape cases – something the court ultimately declined to do.
[HT: How Appealing]