This past Tuesday, with a 50-47 vote split along party lines, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Noel Francisco as the Solicitor General of the United States.
Mr. Francisco, aged 48, is the first Asian-American to serve as a Senate confirmed Solicitor General. He was born in Syracuse, NY and received his JD from the University of Chicago. Francisco has enjoyed an illustrious public and private law career in Washington. Most notably, he served as counsel to George Bush from 2001-2003 and a clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
During his time as a private lawyer, Mr. Francisco successfully represented former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell during McDonnell’s appeal for a a criminal conviction of bribery. Prior to his nomination, he also advocated before the Supreme Court in a consulting capacity.
The role of the Solicitor General, is to represent and advocate on behalf of the US government in cases argued before the Supreme Court. It is not uncommon for the Solicitor General to advocate on the behalf of parties that represent the interests of the federal government, even when the federal government is not named in a particular suit. As such, the position of the Solicitor General a highly important, but commonly overlooked, position in our system of justice.
The confirmation comes amid the Trump administration’s struggle to fill various positions across the executive branch. As of September 14th of President Obama’s first year in office, 315 positions had been confirmed. Thus far, President Trump has confirmed 140 positions.