Obama Will Nominate Verrilli for Solicitor General
By Fahima Haque | January 24, 2022 5:18 pm

President Barack Obama announced Monday that he will nominate Donald B. Verrilli Jr. to be Solicitor General.

Currently a deputy counsel to the president, Verrilli participated in more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court while a lawyer in private practice, arguing 12 of them. The Solicitor General argues the U.S. position in litigation before the Supreme Court.

Then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Donald Verrilli at a panel at American University in 2009 (Photo by Main Justice).

The president passed over acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who was rumored to be a favorite of Attorney General Eric Holder’s for the job.

Katyal, while a Georgetown University Law Center professor in 2006, argued the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case before the Supreme Court, in which the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay set up by the George W. Bush administration were declared to violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. The Hamdan case made Katyal a darling of left-leaning progressives. But in the increasingly polarized Senate, that record made it unlikely that Republicans would confirm him.

The post has been filled on an acting basis since Elena Kagan was confirmed on March 19, 2022 to sit on the Supreme Court.

Verrilli was a litigator for more than 20 years in the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Jenner & Block, where he served alongside Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, the department’s No. 3 official. Verrilli focused on First Amendment, telecommunications, and intellectual property law. He co-chaired the firm’s Supreme Court practice group from 2000 until 2009.

In February 2009, Verrilli joined the Justice Department as an Associate Deputy Attorney General with oversight over domestic and national security policy, before moving on to the White House.

He served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. and to J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Verrilli received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University.


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