President Donald Trump has nominated Noel Francisco as the administration's top Supreme Court attorney, with Francisco, if he's confirmed, now poised to file an influential legal brief in the pending New Jersey sports betting case. Jones Day alum Don McGahn is now serving as White House Counsel.
Francisco now serves as acting solicitor general and has served as principal deputy solicitor general since January.
By contrast, former solicitor general Donald Verrilli and his Obama administration predecessors had a tougher time representing a liberal executive branch before a conservative court.
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The role of Solicitor General doesn't usually make too many headlines, but that's nearly certain to change in the next four years.
Last year, Francisco also successfully convinced the justices to overturn the multiple convictions of Virginia Gov. The Senate is about to consider federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Francisco once clerked.
Crafting responses to challenges to federal policies and advising the president and the attorney general, the SG has historically drawn public scrutiny only when personally arguing a high-profile case.
In another case decided previous year, he represented religious nonprofits that sought an exemption from a provision of the Obamacare health law that requires employers to provide women workers with health insurance that includes contraception coverage. Additionally, Francisco worked in the Office of Counsel to the President as Associate Counsel during the George W. Bush administration. The high court in May sidestepped a major ruling in that case by sending it back to a lower court. Less clear is why this position requires Senate confirmation at all.